Oct. 9, 2023
While discussions about disparities in Black-owned businesses are commonplace, it’s crucial to acknowledge the real progress unfolding within the Black business landscape. A significant milestone has been reached, proudly announced by the National Business League (NBL): participants in the National Black Supplier Development Program (NBSDP) have collectively secured contracts exceeding $100 million in just two years. This accomplishment not only celebrates their achievements but also highlights the program’s essential role in uplifting and empowering Black-owned businesses nationwide.
Dr. Forrest Carter, Ph.D., NBSDP National Director, shared his vision for the program’s impact on Black businesses, stating, “Our goal is to support the development of more than 3.2 million Black businesses nationwide, providing them with opportunities within the federal government, as well as the public and private sectors.”
The NBSDP, launched in 2021 with initial capital support from MPS Group and a significant three-year funding commitment from presenting partner Stellantis, was conceived to address the economic challenges faced by Black-owned businesses during the pandemic.
“We have progressed far beyond the days of business card exchanges, chicken dinners, empty press conferences, and announcements, and we are now steadfastly dedicated to fostering commerce-driven initiatives and purposeful opportunities, going beyond mere words and charismatic speeches,” said Dr. Ken L. Harris, Ph.D., the 16th President/Chief Executive Officer of the National Business League.
The NBL welcomed their last cohort of exceptional Black-owned businesses into the NBSDP. This incoming group, referred to as the Collective, represents a diverse range of businesses from across the country.
The Collective, comprising a diverse range of businesses from across the country, welcomes a dynamic group of entrepreneurs into its fold. Among the distinguished members are:
The Advantage Group from Louisville, KY.
Mutombo Coffee hails from New Orleans, LA.
Chatdesk Inc. is headquartered in New York, NY.
Heritage Vision Plans is proudly based in Detroit, MI.
HESS Advanced Solutions, rooted in Dayton, OH.
James Group International, another thriving business from Detroit, MI.
LED Trail, illuminating paths in Portland, OR.
Pacific Medical Specialties, LLC, serving Rancho Cucamonga, CA.
Polar Group, LLC, representing Oakbrook Terrace, IL.
Production Spring, LLC, blossoming in Troy, MI.
Tucker Technology, Inc., innovating from Oakland, CA.
VMX International, LLC, another shining star from Detroit, MI.
Together, these entrepreneurial forces are driving positive change and contributing to the advancement of Black-owned businesses nationwide.
In its second year, the program gained further momentum with the support of partners like Comerica Bank, Cummins, DTE Energy, Ford, GM, Lear, Magna, and Toyota. Remarkably, a waiting list of Fortune 500 companies is eager to join this successful and impactful program in 2024.
Black business growth was on an upward trajectory before the COVID-19 pandemic. From 2017 to 2020, the number of Black-owned businesses increased by an impressive 13.64%, surpassing the growth rate of all businesses nationwide, which was 0.53%. These businesses generated an estimated $141.1 billion in gross revenue in 2020, marking an 11% increase since 2017.
More importantly, Black-owned businesses exhibited substantial increases in revenue, employment, and payroll. In 2020, they employed 1.321 million people and created 48,549 new jobs, contributing an additional $1.7 billion to the U.S. economy.
However, a significant challenge remains. At the current growth rate of 4.72%, it will take 256 years for Black business ownership to reach parity with the share of Black people in America. Closing this gap in 15 years would require a 74.4% growth rate, emphasizing the need for accelerated support and investment in Black entrepreneurship.
A distinctive feature of the NBSDP is its inclusive approach. It operates in both the public and private sectors, opening doors to a wide range of opportunities. By forging partnerships and collaborations, the program ensures that Black-owned businesses can access contracts and initiatives that were once out of reach.
The impact of the NBSDP on economic growth within the Black business community cannot be overstated. By securing contracts and opportunities, Black-owned businesses not only thrive but also contribute significantly to the nation’s economy. This positive cycle of growth and empowerment is helping to bridge economic disparities.
The NBSDP’s success represents a concerted effort to uplift and empower Black-owned businesses, creating a more equitable economic landscape. By providing access to purchasing contracts and opportunities within both the public and private sectors, the program is helping to level the playing field and drive economic growth within the Black business community.