ChicagoMSDC Recognizes National Black Business Month


August is National Black Business Month! ChicagoMSDC recognizes the journey and the opportunities for Black business in the Chicagoland area. #blackbizmonthchi

August is National Black Business Month!  To celebrate this time, the ChicagoMSDC will highlight a select group of certified MBEs who have showcased business excellence, industry leadership and resiliency that should be applauded and supported.

Historian John William Templeton and engineer Frederick E. Jordan Sr founded National Black Business Month in August 2004.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau (which primarily documents consumer businesses), Black business owners account for about 10 percent of U.S. businesses and about 30 percent of all minority-owned businesses. This suggests approximately two million companies are owned by African Americans.

The United States Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), which includes more business-to-business data, estimates there are 2.6 million African-American businesses generating $1.5 Billion in annual receipts.

Among cities, New York, followed by Atlanta, has the most black-owned businesses in the nation. The highest ratio of black-owned businesses is in Washington, DC where 28% of all businesses are black-owned. The growth of black-owned franchise businesses has been explosive. In 2012 over 30% of franchise businesses were black-owned, up from about 20% five years previous.

Despite its large population and its history for Civil Rights leadership, Chicago doesn’t rank extremely high for best locations for Black-owned businesses.  In fact Chicago didn’t make this top 10 list of best places for black-owned businesses.

One important consideration, however, is that corporate structures and particularly business-to-business (B2B) firms are often excluded from counts and considerations. Black-owned B2B firms are not well tracked for a variety of reasons. In fact, that lack of presence historically became an easy way out, allowing government and corporate buying organization to suggest they could not find any Black or minority owned suppliers. Like today’s climate, civil unrest seems to force a new conversation, more ideas, and more intentional effort to support consumer businesses and B2B supplier diversity.

In 1967 and 1968, a chain of events erupted into civil and economic mayhem that shook Chicago at its very core. A group of corporate and community leaders were determined to rise above the turmoil and to turn a spotlight of hope on seemingly hopeless situations. With the help of Chicago Economic Development Corporation (CEDCO), Western Electric (now AT&T), Chicago Urban League and the Cosmopolitan Chamber of Commerce,  52 buying organizations and 152 minority-owned businesses created a marketplace in 1968 called the Chicago Business Opportunity Day. The following year in 1969, the Chicago Business Opportunity Day was officially re-named CBOF, Chicago Business Opportunity Fair.

The Chicago Business Opportunity Fair (CBOF) was a game-changer for Black and Latino businesses then, and it is a game-changer in the new millennium as well. CBOF remains the signature event of the Council. In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, ChicagoMSDC continues the legacy of its founders and proudly presents the CBOF53 Virtual Conference Series.

On August 5, 2020 the ChicagoMSDC presents “The Guide to Closing the Deal” highlighting 3 phenomenal Black women business owners. This is a candid dialog and inward conversation with accomplished broadcast media icon and author Melody Spann Cooper, Chairman, Midway Broadcasting Corporation.  Moderated by Sharla Roberts, Director of Procurement Diversity/Compliance Program for the University of Illinois System, this conversation will also include experiences from Chicago business owners:   Raquel Graham, ROQ Innovation and Jackie Jackson, Kilwins Chocolates and Fudge.

On August 18, 2020, the ChicagoMSDC welcomes Mary Spio, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of CEEK VR, who will share how technology is transforming business right before our eyes. Business leaders attending this session entitled, “Driving Business Innovation with Virtual and Augmented Reality” will gain insight from an industry leading VR/AR innovator on how to drive business advantage with virtual and augmented reality.

In addition to these two events, the ChicagoMSDC will highlight a few of our outstanding Black-owned MBE firms in social media.  Please follow us and share on Facebook and Twitter for our daily posts #blackbizmonthchi.

The ChicagoMSDC is a proud affiliate of the NMSDC, advancing business opportunities for certified Asian, Black, Hispanic and Native American business enterprises and connects them to corporate members.