Rachael Hawk, marketing manager for small business, Facebook.
by Megan Kirk
COVID-19 helped to uncover many disparities in the business sector. Already impacted by systemic racism, biased bureaucracy and financial red tape, Black businesses have seen a decrease of up to 50 percent in sales since the start of the pandemic. As Black Business Month nears its end, Facebook is continuing its efforts in committing to Black-owned businesses.
In honor of the month, the social media company is hosting its first-ever Facebook Elevate #BuyBlack Summit. The free, one-day virtual conference will include sessions on learning to drive sales just in time for the holiday season, how to access capital for small businesses and other business tips.
The virtual event will also allow opportunities to connect with Black business owners and hear their inspiring stories and insights.
“This month, we’re so excited to put a spotlight on Black-owned small businesses and offer a new training event – the Facebook Elevate Buy Black Summit,” says Rachael Hawk, marketing manager, small business for Facebook. “So many small businesses have suffered incredible loss over the last year, but Black-owned small businesses have been disproportionately affected by higher closure rates and lost sales. This virtual event will give new tools, insights and inspirations for businesses on their road to recovery.“
The #BuyBlack Summit is created in partnership with the U.S. Black Chambers Inc. The event will feature speakers Shelly Bell of Black Girl Ventures and Arian Simone of Fearless Fund. Each will educate viewers on how to drive sales ahead of the holiday season, how to access capital for your small business and more.
“Facebook Elevate is demystifying business education and making growth more accessible for small businesses which is in alignment with both my personal and professional goals. I believe that capital, community and capacity is the foundation of business sustainability and wealth creation for Black and Brown founders. The #BuyBlack Summit will help more founders see their visions through to developing viable innovations that change the world,” says Shelly Bell, founder and CEO of Black Girl Ventures.
A 2021 report released by the House Committee on Small Business lists a decline of Black business ownership in February and April. The 41 percent decline is the fastest growing and largest rate of any racial group. Already faced with issues of access to capital, fewer business relationships and opportunities, Black businesses continue to struggle more than a year after the pandemic began.
In 2020, in light of attacks on race and social justice for Black Americans, Facebook committed to helping shift the narrative and support communities of color. Announcing a $200 million push to Black-owned businesses and organizations, the social media giant also announced $100,000 scholarships for Black students, $25 million dollars to support Black content creators and several other financial commitments.
To further its efforts in supporting Black business in August, Facebook, together with the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., presented Black Business August. The month-long series featured free virtual training, small business panels and speakers.
The company is also doing more to create a safe space for people of color on its platform as groups advocate for stricter guidelines against racial discrimination and hate speech on its platform. Taking a transparent approach, Facebook conducted a look into more than three years of content stemming from a civil rights audit and found there was work to be done. Taking a step towards supporting Black communities and creatives through business is one of the company’s first steps.
Facebook Elevate serves as a learning space for Black businesses and creators. The platform also covered health and wellness, finance and wealth, food and beverage, and beauty and fashion within the Black community, with each having its own week throughout August.
The Facebook Elevate #BuyBlack Summit will be hosted by comedian, actress and podcast host Michelle Buteau. The event will be August 24 beginning at 1 p.m. EST.
The summit will also feature Ron Busby, president and CEO of the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc.; Ayris Scales, CEO of Walker’s Legacy Foundation; and Donald Cravins, executive vice president of the National Urban League.
To learn more about the Buy Black Summit, or to sign up to attend the event, go to www.facebook.com/buyblacksummit.