Like so many others, the murder of George Floyd and countless others has motivated Paladino and Company to look at our role in social equality and justice. It was important to our team to make a true change to how we operate and to have an enduring positive impact on issues of racial justice.
All businesses have the opportunity to improve our communities and ensure social justice is realized for everyone. The United States is home to 30.7 million small businesses – and Paladino is among them. Small companies like ours make up 99.9% of all US businesses. Our collective impact is massive.
One small step that we have taken was to establish an internal social justice working group to provide a platform to share anti-racism resources, helpful articles, and to inspire change amongst our team. There is more to be done, and this working group is just a start.
All that being said, Black entrepreneurs face unique challenges and could use some support from the rest of the small business community. August is Black Business Month, so today we are sharing five ways that small businesses can support Black-owned businesses – now and always.
1. Bank with Black-Owned Financial Institutions
When we learned of the barriers to Black entrepreneurs accessing the capital needed to get their businesses off the ground, we looked into ways to provide long-term support. Through further research, we discovered that one effective strategy is to invest in Black-owned banks that predominantly serve Black communities. This creates a cycle of wealth within those communities, which has a much greater impact than one-time donations. Investopedia offers a list of Black-owned banks by state here: https://www.investopedia.com/black-owned-banks-by-state-5024944.
2. Buy Directly from Black Businesses
Buying from Black businesses is an excellent place to start. Note that purchases made through affiliate or third-party sites don’t guarantee that 100% of the funds from your purchase go directly to the Black business you are trying to support. Consequently, whenever possible, try to purchase directly from the Black business in question.
3. Seek Out Black Vendors and Suppliers
Need to replace your office supplies or place an order through a reprographics company? Black business directories are excellent tools to find what you need at a Black-owned business. Consider making recurring purchases to ensure long-term support. There are many Black-owned business directories to choose from, including Official Black Wall Street.
4. Collaborate with Black-Owned Businesses
There are Black-owned businesses in every industry, so the next time you look to partner with another firm, consider Black or BIPOC businesses. Hopefully, you are also looking to improve diversity on your team, and this adds another level of inclusivity to your project teams. Diverse voices produce well-rounded teams with more creative thinking, innovative ideas, and better performance.
5. Use Your Marketing Platform to Promote Black Voices
Does your organization host webinars, publish blog posts, or engage in industry events? Seek out Black entrepreneurs who may not have the same connections within the industry to open doors and give them a greater platform to promote their leadership. We all know the power of word of mouth referrals – so use this tool to increase social justice!
- Commit to hiring more BIPOC talent
- Encourage employees to donate time or money to organizations that support black businesses
- Update your marketing materials to showcase more diversity
- Create your own internal working group to begin the work of transforming your workplace!
The connections between equality and sustainability are well understood and close to our hearts. What are you doing to increase inclusivity, representation, and social justice? Small businesses have a lot of power to make a more equitable community. We want to hear from you.