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Photos of four people with the following text, Black History Month. The SBA logo is at the bottom.

The SBA Celebrates and Empowers Black-Owned Businesses this Black History Month

By U.S. Small Business Administration on February 11, 2022

Category: SBA News and Views

This Black History Month, the SBA is sharing programs and resources that Black small business owners can leverage to launch, grow, expand, or recover.

The contributions Black business owners have made to entrepreneurship in the U.S. are indispensable. According to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, there are over 3 million Black-owned businesses from coast to coast, accounting for billions of dollars to the U.S. economy and is worth celebrating during Black History Month. Like many in the small business community, however, Black-owned businesses have seen their share of challenges throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Black entrepreneurs are resolute.  In the first year of the pandemic alone, there were more new Black-owned businesses proportionate to the total population than at any time in the previous 25 years.

Many Black entrepreneurs show the grit, ingenuity, and resourcefulness to start, grow, and maintain thriving businesses — even in the face of tremendous adversity. Take Tarolyn Buckles, President and CEO of Onyx Enterprises in Detroit, Michigan, for example. When Onyx Enterprises was growing by leaps and bounds with new and larger contracting opportunities, Buckles applied for the SBA’s Emerging Leaders program which is an intensive executive-level series intended to accelerate the growth of high-potential small businesses in America’s underserved cities.   Buckles graduated with a solid growth plan that resulted in contracts with the Michigan Department of Transportation, the Wayne County Airport Authority and the Great Lakes Water Authority.  Buckles was named a Best Small Business in Michigan in 2020;  Crain’s Notable Women in STEM in 2019; and a Michigan 50 Company to Watch in 2019. 

The SBA stands ready to support Black entrepreneurs realize their goals in 2022 and beyond by providing assistance to:

  1. Local Support: Perhaps you’re seeking ongoing mentorship, or maybe you just have a one-time business question. Either way, local SBA resource partners — SCORESmall Business Development CentersVeterans Business Outreach CentersWomen’s Business Centers, and Community Navigators — are at your service. The SBA network consists of experts who can direct you toward tools and connections that will guide your business to the next level. And SBA partners are available remotely via phone, email, or video chat.
  2. Access to Capital: You can’t get your business off the ground and keep it afloat without funding. The SBA understands this, and that is why we’ve established programs like SBA-backed loans. Do you find yourself unable to obtain a business loan with reasonable rates and terms despite being creditworthy? SBA-backed loans may be a good option for you. The SBA also offers grant programs for businesses in specialized fields – Small Business and Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Technology Transfer (STTR), to name a few.
  3. Contracting Opportunities: The federal government aims to award 23% of all federal contracting dollars to small businesses, creating tremendous opportunities for growth. The SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program, for example, is geared toward small disadvantaged businesses — a group that the federal government aims to set aside 5% of contracting dollars for annually. There are also additional contracting assistance programs to help small businesses win federal contracts through mentorship and exclusive contracting opportunities.
  4. Learning Platform: It’s all about empowering and equipping small business owners and that’s what the SBA’s online learning programs do. The SBA Learning Platform serves as an educational steppingstone for every stage of an entrepreneur’s experience, from plan to launch to growth. SBA’s Ascent, designed to assist women business owners with strategies toward growth and success, includes e-learning resources on a variety of topics. For promising small businesses in America’s underserved cities that are farther along in their journey, there is also the Emerging Leaders Initiative