Corporate Social Responsibility Includes Investing in Black Entrepreneurs
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the idea that businesses have a responsibility to consider the impact of their operations on society and the environment. This can take many forms, from reducing carbon emissions and justice reform to supporting local communities, but one area that has begun to receive increasing attention in recent years is investing in Black entrepreneurs.
Black entrepreneurship is a crucial driver of economic growth and job creation, but Black entrepreneurs face significant obstacles when it comes to accessing capital and building successful companies. By investing in Black entrepreneurs, companies can help to create a more inclusive and equitable society, and also support the growth of businesses that are making a positive impact in the world.
Here are three black entrepreneurs who are building social impact companies:
Angel Gregorio - Founder of Black & Forth and The Spice Suite, which is a boutique
spice shop located in Washington DC that offers a curated selection of high-quality spices, herbs, and teas from around the world. Angel founded The Spice Suite with the intent to build a place where foodies, chefs, and anyone who loves to cook can find unique and hard-to-find ingredients to elevate their culinary creations. The new strip mall that she developed, Black & Forth, hosts cooking classes and business workshops, as well as community events that celebrate Black business and culture. In addition to its brick-and-
mortar location, The Spice Suite also has an online
presence that is opening opportunities for local
shoppers to continue to grow their businesses.
Ryan Wilson - Co-founder of The Gathering Spot, a private club for entrepreneurs, creatives, and professionals. The Gathering Spot provides its members with a supportive and collaborative community, as well as access to resources and opportunities that can help them grow their businesses. Ryan co-founded the company to help bridge the gap between the haves and have-nots in the entrepreneurial world, and to create a space where Black entrepreneurs can come together and support one another.
KJ Miller and Amanda E. Johnson - Co-founders of Mented Cosmetics, a makeup brand that provides a range of products specifically designed for women of color. Mented is committed to creating products that match the diverse skin tones of its customers, and to promoting inclusivity in the beauty industry. KJ and Amanda co-founded the company to address the lack of representation and diversity in the beauty industry, and to create a brand that celebrates the unique beauty of women of color.
These are just a few examples of the many black entrepreneurs who are building social impact companies.
We would be remiss if we did not mention the incredible work being done by our Flikshop team. Flikshop’s CSR customers, including Delta
Air Lines and Boeing, are being intentional about investing in the mission to reduce
recidivism in the US. Some of these investments include purchasing Flikshop Credits that are distributed to their staff that may have an incarcerated loved one as a part of a benefit package. Other investments in Flikshop include the Flikshop School of Business, where
companies are hiring talent that is being trained in the tech and entrepreneurship spaces.
By investing in these companies, companies can support the growth of businesses that are creating positive change in the world, and also contribute to a more inclusive and equitable society. When companies make these types of investments, the entire community benefits.
"Investing in Black entrepreneurs is an important way for companies to demonstrate their commitment to corporate social responsibility," says Marcus Bullock, CEO of Flikshop. "By supporting businesses that are making a positive impact in the world, companies can help to create a more equitable and just society, and also support the growth of companies that are making a positive difference. Besides, most of us lack the social capital to get in the rooms like the offices I find myself in lately, but it sends a message to all of our investors, customers, and community…we matter."
"Black entrepreneurship is a powerful force for change, but Black entrepreneurs face significant obstacles when it comes to accessing capital and building successful companies," says Sylvia Bullock, Relationship Manager at Flikshop, and Marcus’ mom. “Marcus commonly mentions the importance of social capital and access. Ever since we started working with our corporate partners our business has grown, and those partnerships are highlighted with pride in a lot of our messaging.”
If your company is looking for creative ways to invest in Black entrepreneurs, here are three ways that corporate social responsibility and diversity, equity, and inclusion teams can invest in Black entrepreneurs:
Provide funding and resources: This is the top line item for ways corporate social responsibility and diversity, equity, and inclusion teams can invest in Black entrepreneurs. By providing funding and resources to help them start or grow their businesses, these entrepreneurs can jump over the biggest hurdle to scaling their ideas. This investment could include grants, loans, or mentorship programs that provide guidance and support to entrepreneurs.
2. Partner with Black-owned businesses: Another way to invest in Black entrepreneurs is to partner with Black-owned businesses to create new products or services. This could involve forming joint ventures or collaborations that leverage the strengths of both companies to create innovative solutions that benefit the community.
3. Increase access to markets and networks: Many Black entrepreneurs struggle to access markets and networks that can help them grow their businesses. Corporate social responsibility and diversity, equity, and inclusion teams can invest in Black entrepreneurs by creating opportunities for them to connect with potential customers and partners. This could involve hosting events, sponsoring trade shows or conferences, or facilitating introductions to key players in the industry. By increasing access to markets and networks, these teams can help Black entrepreneurs overcome some of the barriers they face and achieve greater success.
Corporate social responsibility will always be an important way for companies to consider the impact of their operations on society and the environment. We hope that this new trend does not let up on steam, and look forward to seeing CSR teams, DEI teams, and even innovation teams making investments that matter. Whether it's through providing access to capital, mentorship, or other resources, companies have the power to make a positive difference by investing in Black entrepreneurs, and ultimately our collective communities. Let’s continue to share about the work from these incredible entrepreneurs and highlight more and more successful companies that are being intentional about these investments.