Aim is to develop and grow financially sustainable Black businesses in New York City from 2% to 22% by 2022
(HARLEM – December 4, 2019) – New York City’s Black businesses are in a state of crisis. Despite comprising nearly a quarter of New York City’s population, African Americans account for just two percent of the city’s businesses. And a recent report from City Comptroller Scott Stringer cited a 30 percent decline in the number of the city’s black-owned businesses between 2007 and 2015.
A group of prominent black entrepreneurs, community leaders and advocacy organizations aim to find solutions to this huge economic and opportunity disparity at the Black Business Empowerment Forum on Dec. 13 in Harlem. The event will seeblack business owners and their supporters convene with elected officials with the aim of growing the number of African-American led businesses in New York City from two percent to 22 percent by 2022.
The growth of Black-owned businesses have a direct impact on unemployment, homelessness, crime, and the financial state of Black-owned businesses directly correlates to the quality of life for Black children, families, and communities, according to Regina L. Smith, executive director of the Harlem Business Alliance, a lead sponsor of the economic forum along with the We Are 400 Foundation.
“The facts make it clear that Black businesses are dying, and in need of an intentional strategic plan that includes public policy and funding before black businesses become extinct in the 21st century,” Smith said.
Reginald Bachus, a founding member of the We Are 400 Foundation, Inc., concurs. He said, “Faith leaders are stepping up to address 400 years of economic injustice by promoting contracts and jobs for men and women of color in New York City’s development and construction industry.”
“Black businesses are dying on the vine and our elected officials must address this ever growing crisis,” said Zevilla Jackson Preston, WEG member, the Harlem-based Black-owned business advocacy organization. “Thirty years ago, Black people fought for Minority and Women Business Enterprises (M/WBE) designation for procurement goals. However, Black people receive the least benefit. This designation has not remedied the wrongs of chattel slavery, Jim Crow and segregation. It is time for a new movement based on economic parity and empowerment.”
Strategic partners include the Harlem Business Alliance, the 400 Foundation (WE ARE 400), Abyssinian Baptist Church, Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement, Mosque of the Islamic Brotherhood, Harlem Commonwealth Council, Council of Black Owned Architecture and Engineering companies (CBAEC), National Black Leadership Alliance, New York Real Estate Chamber, Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corp., the Consortium of Black Plumbers, the Consortium of Black Educators, Black Ferry Operators, the Consortium of Black Real Estate Developers and the Phi Beta Sigma – Epsilon Sigma Chapter.
For more information, the Press should contact the Black Business Empowerment Forum Planning Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit them at wegnyc.org. This is an invitation only event.