The many ways you can support Black-owned businesses

National Black Business Month is a great opportunity for all of us to do more and support Black-owned small businesses. Why should you care about Black Business Month? Why take part? 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

A collection of Black-owned small businesses from our previously published Black Business Month shopping guide. Clockwise from the top left: Be A Good Person, Soul Popped, Me & the Bees, Kids Swag, Ruth Nathan’s, Blondery

National Black Business Month is a great opportunity for all of us to do more and support Black-owned small businesses. Why should you care about Black Business Month? Why take part?

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—can help create jobs, strengthen local economies, and even close the racial wealth gap. This is true of diverse-owned small businesses in general. When we support them, everyone wins.

So what are some ways you can give meaningful support, either as an organization or as an employee who wants to build allyship in the workplace?

As part of a recent LinkedIn Live panel, Charisse Daggs, group manager of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) at Intuit, led a discussion on how individuals can support Black small businesses not only this month but year-round. “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 by extension, our communities. 

Donate your professional expertise, time, and talents

When possible, shop small. It’s a no-brainer way to support small businesses. For times 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 some 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. 

Also, never forget the power of social media. By amplifying Black voices and products in your own channels, you can bring attention to these creators and businesses. 

Extending your network of resources can also help. Make an introduction or connect them with someone within your social circle that may be able to help and provide the expertise they need.

Encourage supplier diversity

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

Diversifying vendors can bring unexpected pluses. As shared by Taylor Thompson, Staff Program Manager for Supplier DEI, in one case, a decision was made to switch 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. 

Individual employees can play a vital role in helping their company diversify its suppliers and support small businesses. 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 provide cutting-edge solutions. 

Perhaps that locally sourced small business coffee company you love so much could end up providing the coffee in your company’s break rooms. Or if your company has an offsite, instead of sourcing the swag from the usual big-name vendors, consider nominating a local diverse-owned small business. 

You can hire those small businesses for your own use—if you need food or treats for a party you’re planning, for example. 

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

As an employee, you have your own background and interests that can lead you to finding 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 be afraid to introduce them to your organization and nominate them as potential vendors. Making an intentional effort to diversify your partners can be a win-win for not only your customers but for your employees as well.

Other ways to extend your support

While it’s broader than just Black-owned small businesses, 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 not have the capital needed to grow their business.

Knowing how important capital is for small business success, Intuit has committed to faster payments for small business suppliers, Instead of having to wait for 45 to 90 days to get paid for work already completed, they get paid in about 10 days. That’s capital that can go toward operations and scaling the company.

Employee resource groups (ERG) can be a wealth of knowledge, being both an ally for a given community as well as providing tangible connections within the community. 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. 

Our 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.

Our Adopt a Small Business program started about four years ago at our headquarters in Mountain View, California. As part of this program, teams of three to five Intuit employees “adopt” a 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 that the program goes deeper. Employee participants spend two hours a week meeting with the customer to discuss their business needs, challenges, and opportunities. In return, Intuit receives feedback on how customers use its products. There is no monetary cost to be in the program.

To date, 385 Intuit employees have adopted 102 customers across Australia, Canada, the US, and the UK, and the program is expanding into other markets like Brazil and France. This Black Business Month, Intuit is adopting three Black-owned businesses—one in New York and two in California.

Continue your support for Black businesses year-round

Finally, this year’s Black Business Month is drawing to a close, but your support of Black and diverse-owned businesses doesn’t have to end on August 31. 

To contribute to their success, Daggs suggests making a conscious effort to incorporate small businesses into your holiday 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.

Intuit

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