In celebration of Black History Month, we are turning our attention to the cities where black entrepreneurs have thrived. In the United States, there are more than 2.5 million black-owned businesses, a number that seems to keep on growing. Even more impressive, these businesses bring in more than $150 trillion dollars in revenue into the American economy.
Starting a business can be daunting, however the cities below have made an effort to give entrepreneurs the resources to succeed and have been exceptional in their focus on black entrepreneurs as well.
Washington, D.C. – Alexandria, Virginia – Arlington, Maryland
With a fount of resources for black businesses owners and small businesses alike, the nation’s capital and its surrounding areas are among the best places for entrepreneurs. The National Black Chamber of Commerce and Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce are two great resources for businesses. However, BizLaunch is a more targeted network that focuses on assisting entrepreneurs and small businesses by providing consulting, workshops, and seminars focused on building your business.
With more than 115,000 black-owned businesses that bring in more than $13 billion dollars in revenue, it already has a huge network of black business owners. Coupled with a growing tech industry, the metro area is becoming a haven for startups and entrepreneurs looking for a supportive community.
Memphis, Tennessee Metropolitan Area
Memphis is bolstered by a strong community and booming tourist industry. And with more than half of businesses being black-owned, it is a great place for black entrepreneurs to begin. In addition to the Black Business Association of Memphis, the Greater Memphis Chamber also has a small business council that offers training and networking events, as well as one-on-one counseling sessions.
It is also the home to Shark Tank veteran Moziah Bridges, who was taken under a mentorship with Shark Daymond John. Bridges’ company, Mo’s Bows, sold $200,000 in the year following his appearance on the show and has grown to seven employees, which is impressive considering he was only 12 years-old when he appeared on the show.
Columbus, Georgia Metropolitan Area
As a large military town — it’s home to Fort Benning — Columbus has a large population for entrepreneurs to target. In addition to being a lot less expensive and less competitive to open a business in the city, it’s also home to ColumbusMakesIT, which is nonprofit makerspace where entrepreneurs and creators can gather to learn, support, and drive innovation and creation.
More than a third of businesses in the area are black-owned and represent $245 million in revenue. With major job opportunities because of the military base, it also has a sprawling array of small businesses that have found success due to the low barriers of entry and low cost of living.
Atlanta – Sandy Springs – Marietta, Georgia Metropolitan Area
With the Atlanta Metropolitan Black Chamber of Congress, which offers mentoring programs and monthly events, and Atlanta’s Minority Business Development Agency, which provides business assessments, capital and finance management, and strategic business consulting, Atlanta is an incredibly supportive place for black entrepreneurs. In addition, there is a $73 billion dollar black consumer industry.
In addition to a lost cost of living, Atlanta also boasts some of the best engineering and technical schools in the country like Georgia Tech, which was named one of the most technically advanced universities in the world. Morehouse College, a historically black college, teamed up with The Opportunity Hub to offer a certificate in Investing In Startups & Early Stage Companies.
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