Building Neighborhood Economies From Within

Phillip Blog post
As a solutions-oriented person, Phillip writes the following on what can be done to help change the problem discussed in our recent blog post. Read that post first, if you haven’t yet.

He writes: “In my opinion, one way to help reverse this gap is to increase the number of small, midsize and large successful African American businesses in Minnesota who collectively will hire a large number of African Americans and pay them good wages.  To accomplish this goal, the Black consumer must intentionally on a systematic bases purchase products and services from Black businesses and Black businesses must provide first class products and services to the consumer.

I recommend the following solutions because they are within the control of each individual Black consumer and each Black business owner.  These solutions are designed to increase the Black business sales, profits and brand awareness so they can in turn hire more qualified African Americans and pay them livable wages.

Black Consumers can do the following:

  • Shop Black First Sunday’s Campaign: Historically first Sundays have been a very important day in the black community which is why I suggested first Sundays.  On each first Sunday weekend of the month, each Black consumer in the state of Minnesota can make a conscience effort to purchase at least one product or service from a Black business.  Then post a photo or video on your Facebook page, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Periscope, etc. what you purchased and what business you purchase it from.  Each of us can start doing this beginning the first weekend in December.  Maybe we can get the Black radio station host a Shop Black First Sunday call in segment which will encourage you to call in and share what you purchased and where. #shopblackfirstsundays

Black Groups (Churches/Nonprofits/Greek Organizations, etc.) can do the following:

  • Black “Cash Mob” Program: Have several Black groups or organizations in the Twin Cities come together and create a formal African American Business “Cash Mob” Program. A cash mob is a group of people who assemble at a local business at a specific date and time to make purchases. The purpose of these mobs is to support both the local businesses and the overall community. Just like a loan, African American businesses would apply for the Cash Mob program. It would be an ongoing program where the goal is to increase sales, grow the company and create jobs. To make it work, we would need the support from all the various nonprofit organizations, churches, fraternities, sororities, associations, etc., to include their members in the Cash Mob event via a special design mobile app.  After each event, use social media, Black newspapers, and Black radio stations to communicate the results to the community.  If this program already exists in the Black community that’s great, let’s work together to expand it.
  • Create an African American Angel Investor Network by establishing a formal way for Black entrepreneurs to pitch their business ideas to wealthy African Americans who would invest in their business for an equity stake in their company. Another way Black businesses may be able to grow quicker and hire people and pay them a livable wage.  If anyone knows of a Twin Cities African American Angel Investor Group, I would like to connect them.

Black Business Owners can do the following:

  • Join a Peer Networking Group: Join a peer networking group that is design to help you solve problems and grow your business.  A good peer networking group is worth their weight in gold.
  • Become a Mentor: Successful Black business owners become a mentor to one small Black business owner and help them to grow into a large successful Black business owner so they can hire qualified African Americans. If you are a small business owner don’t wait for a success business owner to find and contact you, you reach out to them.
  • Business Collaborations: Establish formal collaborative relationships with other businesses and organizations that has your same target market.
  • Crowdfunding Campaign: Create a formal crowd funding campaign program to leverage additional capital for your business – this is also good for getting the word out in the community creates a marketing opportunity.
  • Consider becoming an approved vendor for the City of Minneapolis & City of St. Paul. Most businesses think that the city only utilize the services of businesses in the construction industry.  However, the cities does purchase many other products and services.   For more information contact the City of Minneapolis and City of St. Paul.  There are also nonprofit that can assist you in becoming an approved vendor for the city.  During business with the city can help grow your business so you can hire qualified African Americans.”

All of us at NDC and the community at large are grateful for the input and expertise of Phillip. What are your thoughts? Do you have additional ideas? How do we take the next step?