Small businesses and entrepreneurs have been longtime wealth builders for generations. By supporting more Black-owned companies, you can help create more opportunities for meaningful savings, property ownership, credit building, and generational wealth for black communities. If we all do our part in supporting black businesses, then we’re helping with the progression of strengthening many black communities. Supporting black businesses shouldn’t be a trend; it should be a lifestyle. Here are four reasons why you should shop black.
Supporting black businesses builds relationships and boosts community morale. There are currently 2.6 million black-owned businesses in America, where 8 out of 10 fail within their first 18 months due to the lack of resources and funds. According to The State of Working America, “Black people spend four percent more money annually than any other race although they are the least represented race and the race that lives in poverty at the highest rate.” It would be more beneficial if more money was recycled within the black community. More importantly, it would generate more wealth within the community pillars to establish a comradery sense for youth and adolescents.
When black-owned businesses are in high demand, the companies are more profitable. Showing your support helps contribute to creating entrepreneurial opportunities. Black entrepreneurship can fuel the black community's economic prosperity and serve as a bridge where low-income families can move up to middle-class status. The Black to Business article stated, “The problem is that there aren’t enough black-owned businesses to hire unemployed black people. Time is overdue for change, and we must pool our resources and build our own reality.”
The persistent racial wealth gap in the United States is a burden on Black Americans as well as the overall economy. It can be traced back to the Jim Crow era and redlining that prevented Black people from accessing higher-paying jobs and homeownership opportunities. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, “In 2016, the average wealth of households with a head identifying as black was $140,000, while for white-headed households was $901,000, nearly 6.5 times greater.” Support of black businesses can increase the flow of wealth to black families and black communities. This helps to close off the racial wealth gap over time.
There’s a common saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” The power of the community has paved the way for many business owners. When you choose to support black-owned businesses, you’re supporting black pride, unity, and self-determination. While that may be intimidating to some, it would mean the world to many families and communities. Black entrepreneurship is a tool for survival in a world that does not want to see you win. When we choose to win against all odds, young black children grow up seeing successful entrepreneurs and a thriving community.
A huge social media push to put dollars directly back in Black business owners' hands has been a current movement. Community leaders from many communities have started tearing down impending policies that affect the progression of black businesses. Instead of getting your services through other big-name brands; people should try spending money on small businesses such as Auntie Vee’s Kitchen.
Auntie Vee's Kitchen was officially founded in 2012 by Navena Moore. She started selling gourmet desserts and pastries at local farmer's markets before it was known for its best macaroni & cheese in Chicago, IL. After a year of receiving positive reviews from the public and customers. Auntie Vees started a food truck in 2013, which became their primary source of operation.
Back in 2015 they participated in the Mac & Cheese Fest and competed against high-profile restaurants such as Noodles & Company, Michael Jordan Steakhouse, Connie's Pizza, and more. Auntie Vees won first place for Best Mac & Cheese in Chicago and took home the Golden Noodle. After the Mac & Cheese Fest, they began to add savory selections to their menu. The menu features many delicious entrees; their most notable item is the Jerk Chicken Protein Bowl with garlic butter rice and award-winning mac & cheese as the base. The best part about Auntie Vees is the pure love and soul that is put in the food.
In my interview with Navena Moore, the CEO of Auntie Vee’s Kitchen, I asked her, “what does black entrepreneurship mean to you?” Her response was not only real, but it was very eye opening. She mentioned how entrepreneurship and her ability to create was embedded in her. It's a gift that is not astounded upon many people. to It’s essential for people to know the value of ownership because it allows you to be in charge of your own limits.
Entrepreneurship is the act of creating a business while building and scaling it to generate a profit. It’s about establishing generational wealth on your own terms: no bosses, no restricting schedules, and no one holding you back. As your own boss, you're able to take the first step into making the world a better place.
Often, entrepreneurs sell themselves short because they have little self-worth. Due to them not having the proper resources, knowledge, and confidence, they tell themselves they can’t make it before anyone else does. It’s important to know your worth! Start by asking yourself who you are, what you stand for, and what drives you. Then begin to step into that person and take action accordingly.
Years before Auntie Vee’s Kitchen was created Navena was a managing broker. She was tired of the typical 9-5 work lifestyle. Although she was a fantastic broker, she just knew she wanted something more exciting in her life. Her natural “entrepreneurial spirit” led her to step out on faith and create Auntie Vee’s Kitchen. Every new journey requires you to trust your vision.
Auntie Vee’s famous oatmeal cookies were a gift from the food heavens. One day Auntie Vee ventured into the kitchen to release some creative energy. She always had a love for oatmeal, so she decided to make the same oatmeal cookies she envisioned. With just one try Auntie Vee was able to create her famous oatmeal cookies.
Immediately after her first creation, she then attempted to make a sweet potato cream cheese pie. She didn’t ace the pie on the first time around, but she kept it at. Auntie Vee didn’t allow her weakness to defeat her. Every weakness has the potential to be your greatness strength. With every lousy failure came a new recipe that was even more innovative and creative than the last one.
How important is teamwork when starting a business?
Building a strong team is very vital when starting any business. You're only as good as your team is a very prevalent statement. The way you approach and manage your team is very crucial. You have to be different with every approach you make.
You can set your team up for success by placing them in positions they’re going to shine best. When your team feels prepared, it shows in the work they produce. It’s vital that everyone on the team is responsible for something. The power of delegation is extremely helpful for business owners, especially when working with a small team.
How has Auntie’s Vee’s changed over the years?
Auntie Vee’s Kitchen has been one of the most challenging things CEO Navena Moore has created since her entrepreneurial journey. She said, “It’s just like raising a kid, but I would say raising a kid is easier because we have some type of control of direction.
Auntie Vee’s Kitchen went from serving delicious cupcakes & pastries to serving savory gourmet meals inside her restaurant. It’s been times on the journey where Auntie Vee stopped and asked, “Do I want to keep going?” At times you might want to stop, but it’s essential to always remember your why! Remember your purpose and tap into your inner drive! When you trust your passion, miracles will always appear on the other side.
Where do you see Auntie Vee’s Kitchen in 10 years?
Auntie Vee sees her restaurant still standing strong and delivering heart-healthy savory gourmet dishes. Every day they’re working towards being a vested outlet in their industry as well as their community.
Being a family-owned business that can provide jobs, scholarships, and resources is a blessing of its own. Auntie Vee’s hopes to continue to fund dreams and create outlets for the youth. Black-owned businesses can’t thrive or prosper without the support of their community.
This is the time to be intentional about strengthening black businesses and other pillars of the community.
Available resources for black-owned businesses
Often black business owners are not aware of the many resources that are available to them. African Americans are not afforded the same opportunities as white people, especially when it comes to economic success and career opportunities. With the lack of resources and grants, it sets up countless barriers. It causes unwanted stress, a lack of clarity, and creates additional steps.
Black business owners are more likely to face unique challenges when starting their business. According to a recent study by Guidant Financial, 80% of Black business owners say their number one challenge is access to capital. Here are 5 available resources that can help small business owners:
The Small Business Administration is the only cabinet-level federal agency entirely dedicated to small businesses. It provides counseling, capital, and contracting expertise as the nation’s only go-to resource and voice for small businesses.
The National Association for the self-Employed holds ongoing applications through its growth grants program in which business owners can apply for grants up to $4,000.
The Minority Business Development Agency provides access to financing resources and some funding opportunities for minority business owners.
The National Black MBA Association is a non-profit organization that provides educational and economic growth opportunities to its members' network.
Catapult’s seven-month-long program trains business owners on creating solutions to complex business problems.
For anyone near the Chicago, IL area, I highly recommend you stop by Auntie Vee’s Kitchen to try some of the delicious gourmet dishes. You taste the love and perfection in every meal. The team behind Auntie Vee’s Kitchen is what makes Auntie Vees. Their determination and commitment to providing the customers with an unforgettable experience drive the success of Auntie Vee’s Kitchen.
We have the opportunity to make a change in the world. I encourage every one to think about how they can make an impact in the lives of others. At GGI, we enjoy shedding light on important social issues while amplifying the community's voice. We help brands build scalable systems that drive internal and external customers through a “wow” worthy buyer and customer journey towards advocacy. If you would like to unpack your current business strategies, reach out to chat with our expert growth advisors about how we can help take your business to the next level.