I have been a business owner for 19 years. My parents were business owners prior to that for 10 years.
Growing up I had never heard of their business or any other business referred to as a “black business.” I was taught that through hard work I would obtain success and any pit falls or set backs that I may experience would be due to my own negligence.
Now as an adult, in 2020, it has to be said that I have a “black owned,” “minority owned,” "woman owned,” business. What does that even mean really?
As a black-owned, minority-owned, woman-owned business there has been nothing that I have been able to obtain based off of these certifications. Why though?
There is a great lack of information that is readily available for someone like me to become aware of those opportunities. There are other issues that as a business owner as a whole that need to be addressed. As a black woman in business I was not mentored or educated on the basic principles of running a business.
I have learned through my own trial and error. I have learned by watching other black business owners fold due to their lack of planning or purposeful acts to defraud the consumer which feeds into the stereotype that black businesses owners are incompetent and hustlers.
I believe that the conversation needs to begin with educating black business owners on how to run their businesses efficiently. We need to have the confidence that when placed in the room with our white counterparts that we are able to compete based on our skills and knowledge.
Personally, I would like to see more collaboration with each other. I see other cultures who help each other achieve their goals and I would like to see that within our own community.
We as black people often get caught up in feelings of jealousy and hatred and we don’t want to see another person win. We should celebrate each other. We are greater in numbers and with a strong foundation built, we as people will be able to build wealth and successful businesses for generations to come.
Editor’s Note: Kulinda Rollins-Chaney is the CEO of Focused Family Services.