That dollars spent in the Black community circulate for a much shorter period of time compared to other communities is evident all over the country and in Shreveport.
Businesses like liquor stores and beauty and hair supply shops operated by non-African Americans, tend to establish in Black communities. When those owners leave at the end of their day, those dollars go with them to the neighborhoods they reside.
In light of that fact, August is designated National Black Business Month, a time when individuals and businesses recognize Black-owned businesses across the country.
“The dollar stays in the black community for only six hours compared to 28 days in the Asian community and 17 days in the white community, Brittney Dunn, Shreveport-Bossier African American Chamber of Commerce chairwoman said in a news release.
Billy Anderson, the executive director at SBAACC spoke with The Times about supporting Black businesses.
“There are so many Black-owned businesses in Shreveport that we can take advantage of and shop at,” Anderson said. “We’re just trying to bring exposure to all those different types of businesses. We want people to be intentional in supporting them.”
Anderson also talked about the challenges Black business owners had with trying to take advantage of The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a now $953-billion business loan program established by the U.S. government in 2020 through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to help certain businesses, self-employed workers.
“Because of the way that traditionally, a lot of Black businesses are set up with being first-generation business owners, it was difficult for them to apply for that first round of PPP funding,” Anderson said.
Many Black-owned businesses are like sole proprietorships and don’t necessarily have expenses regarding payroll, so it’s not reflected in their books that they are paying people to work for them.
That’s because their workers tend to be family members working for the business and are paid in cash, Anderson added.
Additionally, a lot of Black-owned businesses are service industry-oriented and often are sole proprietorships, meaning they are the business owner and the employee.
“The second round of PPP provided access to sole proprietorships,” Anderson said.
The SBAACC is now asking the City of Shreveport and Bossier Parish about what funding will be available if another shutdown occurs and/or if businesses start to once again have limited capacity. They also want to know what plans are in place for Black-owned businesses in terms of the American Rescue Plan Act funding.
The City of Shreveport received $48 million in Rescue funds, while Bossier City received, $13,428,592.
“That money is earmarked for economic development and losses due to the pandemic,” Anderson said.
As for the dollars circulating only six hours in the Black communities, Anderson said it is a real challenge when you want to spend money to support a Black business but oftentimes, businesses where one would buy their daily essentials, are not established in Black communities.
“For instance, we don’t have any Black-owned medium-sized grocery stores in Shreveport or Bossier so what to do you when you need to buy food?” Anderson said. “That’s one of the big necessities that we need. The first thing we buy with our paycheck is food. So, when you do that, your money is already out of the community.”
The Shreveport-Bossier African American Chamber of Commerce organized several events to highlight, celebrate and support local businesses. The group is also launching a Buy Black 31 Day campaign.
“By buying Black for 31 days, we hope to increase the customer base of Black-owned businesses. We also want to raise public awareness of the variety of Black-owned businesses throughout Shreveport-Bossier.”
Some of the month’s activities include:
Comedy Show at the Lake, 9 p.m., Aug. 13, will be held at The Lake Street Bar. Local comedians will be bringing the jokes and laughter. The cost is $20 at the door.
Black Biz Camp, Aug. 27-28, will be held at Southern University at Shreveport Metro from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Students will be immersed in several seminars that cover everything from marketing and finance to compliance and customer service. Seminar topics include:
Marketing led by Drayden Dunn, president of Envision Media, and Kalli Combs, president of Social Pal Kal
Customer Service led by Victor L. Thomas and Candice Ratliff
Legal led by Ebonee Norris of The Norris Law Group, LLC
Compliance led by Brian L. McNew, AIA, NCARB
The cost to attend is $10 for members and $25 for non-members. To register for this event, go to https://members.sbaacc.org/event/Details/business-boot-camp-380228?sourceTypeId=Website.
Black Food Truck Nights, Aug. 20, will be held at Louisiana Daiquiri Café from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. There will be several local food trucks, music, and entertainment. This event is free and open to the public.
The SBAACC serves as the premier voice in Northwest Louisiana for the African American business community. The organization’s vision is to lead the charge for advocacy, entrepreneurship, and economic empowerment. To learn more about the SBAACC, visit www.sbaacc.org.