Ways to support Black-owned businesses

There are many ways you can support Black-owned businesses - here are a few ways to get started today!

When you support Black-owned businesses, you’re supporting Black communities. And supporting Black communities helps create a healthy economy for all. Supporting Black businesses—whether through money, time, or advocacy—creates jobs, strengthens local economies, and even closes the racial wealth gap. This is true of diverse-owned small businesses in general. When we support them, everyone wins. 

August is Black Business Month, and around that time of year, awareness and support for Black-owned businesses soars. While taking the time to acknowledge these businesses is a wonderful way to offer support, how can we make it a point to support Black-owned businesses year-round? 

As part of a LinkedIn Live panel, Charisse Daggs, group manager of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) at Intuit, led a discussion on this topic.  

“It’s really a time to acknowledge and appreciate Black-owned businesses across the country and all that they represent in our strive for diversity, equity, and inclusion,” said Daggs.  

The conversation inspired the following actionable takeaways we can implement in our professional and personal lives to bolster the success of small businesses and our communities.  

Why it’s important to support Black-owned business

In 1977, the Community Reinvestment Act became law. This legislation focuses primarily on resolving unfair lending practices toward the Black community and represents significant progress for Black entrepreneurs. However, challenges still remain. 

Business owners of color still struggle to find lenders to work with. The Black community also faces a significant racial wealth gap. By supporting Black-owned businesses, you are stepping up as part of the solution to these longstanding financial problems. You’re also celebrating Black culture, furthering these companies’ visibility and ultimately helping them grow. 

4 ways to support Black-owned businesses 

Charisse Daggs’s discussion on how to support Black-owned businesses gave us the following tips on how we can come together to help the community and do more. 

1. Shop at Black-owned businesses 

When possible, shop small. It’s a no-brainer way to support small businesses. When you can’t spend as much money, don’t underestimate the power of relationship building. 

If you know of a small business that may need some support, spend time with them to try and understand their challenges. If they are interested, you can share your expertise and see how you can help them.  

2. Inspire others to shop at Black-owned businesses 

You can never underestimate the power of social media. You can bring attention to these creators and businesses by amplifying Black voices and products in your channels.  

Extending your network of resources can also help Black-owned businesses. Make an introduction or connect them with someone within your social circle who can help and provide the expertise they need. 

3. Encourage supplier diversity

Intuit’s Supplier DEI program creates a more inclusive supply chain by diversifying the vendors it hires. Our supplier program also strengthens Intuit’s relationships with its customers and the communities it serves, creating innovative solutions to solve customer problems. 

Diversifying vendors can bring unexpected benefits. Look at Taylor Thompson, Staff Program Manager for Supplier DEI, and her experience with a change of internal training vendors. 

Instead of contracting with the same vendor that had provided training to Intuit for years, the team found a diverse-owned small business. The result was fresher ideas, more innovation, bolder thinking, and a better outcome for employees.  

Companies need a wide range of suppliers, from local bakeries that provide snacks and treats for company meetings and events to AI tech companies that offer cutting-edge solutions. Individual employees can play a vital role in helping their company diversify its suppliers and support small businesses.  

4. Influence others at your own company 

Your role in helping small businesses is bigger than just supporting Black-owned small businesses.  

Promote awareness from the top down as a business owner or leader 

As an advocate for small businesses, consider trying to influence your company to prioritize shorter payment terms for its small business vendors. Small business owners may need access to this capital in the short term to grow their businesses. 

Knowing how important capital is for small business success, Intuit supports faster payments for small business suppliers. Instead of waiting 45 to 90 days after project completion for their pay, our vendors receive payment in about 10 days. That’s capital that can immediately go toward operations and scaling the company. 

Embrace your power and influence as an employee 

As an employee, your background and interests can lead you to find niche small businesses. The next time you’re looking to bring on a new vendor, explore diverse representation. If you know of a great small business, don’t hesitate to introduce them to your organization and nominate them as potential vendors. 

Small businesses you hire for your own use—if you need food or treats for a party you’re planning – may provide commercial services that can be a perfect fit for your employer’s vendor needs. You could also nominate local diverse-owned businesses to provide products or services for special occasions, like company offsites or charity fundraising events. 

Making an intentional effort to diversify your partners can be a win-win for not only your customers but for your employees as well. Perhaps that locally sourced small business coffee company you love could provide the coffee in your company’s break rooms. 

Another idea is to host small business popups at your workplace. Whether in support of a holiday or just because, popups are a great way to introduce new small businesses to employees that could also become suppliers in the future. 

Intuit’s commitment to support diverse small businesses

At Intuit, we’re passionate about supporting small businesses. That includes doing more to provide resources to Black and underrepresented small business owners as part of our commitment to DEI. 

Employee resource groups (ERG) can be a wealth of knowledge, being both an ally for a given community and providing tangible connections within the community. Our ERGs represent strong, tight-knit groups of members who can show support and affect real change for the communities they support. 

 If your company has some kind of employee resource group, such as Intuit’s African Ancestry Network, ask the ERG members if they have any diverse small business recommendations. You can also talk to management at your company about working more closely with local diverse-owned businesses. 

Our Adopt a Small Business program is an example of this type of outreach from our headquarters in Mountain View, California. This program involves teams of three to five Intuit employees “adopting” a small business customer that uses Intuit’s QuickBooks. The program is an adaptation of Intuit’s “Follow Me Home” program, where employees have a one-hour conversation with a customer focusing on how they use Intuit products, their pain points, and possible solutions. 

René Whyte, Senior program manager of Adopt a Small Business, notes exactly how deep the program goes. Employee participants spend two hours a week meeting with the customer to discuss their business needs, challenges, and opportunities free of charge. In return, Intuit receives feedback on how customers use its products.  

Support Black businesses year-round 

Supporting Black-owned businesses doesn’t have to end with Black Business Month. To continue to help them succeed year-round, Daggs suggests consciously incorporating small businesses into your regular shopping. 

“My girls and I buy our Christmas gifts, New Year’s gifts, and birthday gifts from small, diverse, Black-owned businesses; or Latinx-owned, disability-owned, female-owned. Just to make sure that our dollars truly matter and we’re voting with our money.” From actions you can take in the workplace to diversifying your own spending, our hope is to help encourage a more equitable future for the small businesses and entrepreneurs that are the backbone of the communities we live and work in every day.