Black-owned businesses are an integral part of the New York City landscape, providing a pathway to wealth generation for Black families for centuries. Despite the fact that the Black community makes up 22% of the city's population, only 3.5% of businesses are owned by Black entrepreneurs. This means there is a great potential for more Black-owned businesses to start and grow. It is important to make a conscious effort to support Black entrepreneurs, who often face disproportionate challenges.
For example, Harlem's Seasoned Vegan is a family-run business owned by mother and son Brenda and Aaron Beener. They offer vegan gourmet dishes such as macaroni and cheese, po-boy fried crabs, chicken nuggets, stuffed avocados, and red velvet cupcakes. The menu also includes vegan Italian, Asian, Middle Eastern, Caribbean and American dishes with a homemade twist. BLK MKT Vintage is another great example of a Black-owned business in Bed-Stuy.
It is owned by Jannah Handy and Kiyanna Stewart and specializes in vintage pieces celebrating Black history. Brooklyn is also home to New York's first craft beer bar with vinyl records. The online marketplace Bold Xchange was created by Danielle Deavens and Doug Spencer with the goal of making it easier to find and buy Black-owned brands. These businesses are not only important for providing goods and services but also for hosting events and meetings after hours and sharing information on critical resources with the community.
The main challenges identified by Black entrepreneurs are access to capital (40%), lack of preparation and background on how to run a business (15%), and lack of reliable resources to help (13%). More than 70% of Black business owners said they want help reaching more customers and increasing their sales. It is essential to support Black-owned businesses in New York City in order to create a more equitable economy. Shopping at locally-owned stores helps make our communities special, while also helping to create opportunities for Black entrepreneurs.