2020 August
How Does Constructing Partnerships With Black Business Advance Diversity And Inclusion
Category: Black Business,Diversity Author: BCDAlliance Date: 6 months ago Comments: 0


By: Carmen Morris

Building new partnerships and adapting to new circumstances is key to opening up avenues of opportunity for Black people. In an age where diversity and inclusion is part of the topical debates across social agendas, business, justice and politics, it is hard to name an aspect of social life, where diversity and inclusion does not feature as a requirement of the world in which we exist.

Forming partnerships with Black-owned businesses, consultants and community organizations is central to developing talent and supply chain pipelines, that are diverse and inclusive, by design. The formation of such partnership arrangements, supports leadership statements around commitment to advance racial inclusion, both internally with employees, and externally with key stakeholders.

Building Strategic Partnerships

Although research from McKinsey shows that businesses that encourage diversity and inclusion have far better results, most organizations have failed to recruit more inclusively in order to advance diversity and inclusion and secure the benefits associated with a more diverse environment, particularly at leadership levels.

Becoming more inclusive takes hard work, and it is not just about the people who work for your business. Leadership teams and procurement managers must take a more proactive stance by looking at a range of organizational systems, not just HR and recruitment, if they are to become true allies, and supporters of a more racially inclusive operational environment, which is free from systematic racism.

It has been historically disconcerting that we have also failed to build solid, strategic partnerships with Black-owned businesses, which can help to lessen the economic disparities between black and white communities. The shift towards a more inclusive tone has been noticeable, and moves to develop intelligent conversations and actions, around removing structural racism and inequality, is encouraging.

Building strategic partnerships with Black businesses helps to foster a more inclusive environment. It enables businesses to widen their external focus around their supply chain and procurement activities. Most businesses either make products or deliver services to consumers. It is within the business logistics network that diversity and inclusion is often overlooked.

Procurement and Supply Chain

No business can operate independently. All business use the products and services of others to support their work, and supply chains should be inclusive. A supply chain is an integral part of business and is often overlooked in terms of its importance in developing diversity and inclusion. Diversity and inclusion is about people yes, but it also impacts processes.

By excluding Black businesses, consultants and other providers from the supply chain, businesses effectively feed into a systemic exclusion of marginalised groups. Look at your procurement system. Is it inclusive or do you tend to buy goods and services from the usual suspects?

There are Black businesses operating within almost every sector of business. Consider whether your procurement system needs reviewing. Consider whether it needs to be revised to make it more accessible to black businesses, so that your organisation can embed inclusion more effectively across your business your logistics and supply chain operations. Importantly, consider who is on the review panel that evaluates tenders and ensure that bias is not creeping into the decision making process.

Black business owners can often help to add perspective to your diversity and inclusion agenda. Besides the colour of their skins they may be able to offer an organization an insight into professional challenges faced that can support businesses to build increase knowledge around the issues that face consumers, and other stakeholders, within the wider community.

Developing a supplier diversity program will support your buyers to take account of diversity and inclusion, by widening its pool of potential suppliers from minority community backgrounds. By developing systems that not only attract, but also partner with, Black-owned businesses, an organisation can support an authentic diversity and inclusion agenda.

A racially inclusive agenda that accommodates an external focus, will add value by supporting businesses that have been historically marginalised within the procurement life cycle, particularly by larger, global businesses. Developing partnerships with Black-owned businesses must be managed on an equitable basis, delivering results for both parties, whilst helping to foster racial inclusion within supply chain mechanisms.

Supporting Black Businesses

There are Black and Brown people who have left the traditional world of work to set up on their own. Some due to the systemic failures that meant that they were unable to progress within the traditional workplace, others because of an innate entrepreneurial spirit. Whatever the reason, they are out their in the world, delivering excellent service and developing innovative products. These marginalised businesses are in need the support of venture capitalist and other businesses.

Business procurement activities and supply chains should measure for diversity and inclusion and report on it. It is just another way of making sure that a business is authentically considering racial equality.

Whether it is stationary, work lunches, entertainment, consulting, tech or construction, keep an eye out for Black owned businesses. Similar to the recruitment process, there should be nothing in place that causes smaller Black businesses to be excluded from the supply chain.

Leadership Responsibility

It is the responsibility of leadership to ensure that all aspects of business function support inclusive practice. Forming partnerships with Black businesses through inclusive procurement processes, is an often overlooked area, within the diversity and inclusion agenda.

The role of leadership is to manage businesses in a way that removes structural barriers and inequities and opens up avenues for inclusive and collaborative enterprise. By developing a formalised diversity supplier program, organizations can ensure that the impact of their overall race equality initiatives, goes beyond their employees and supports marginalised Black communities, and businesses.

Since the death of George Floyd and the global outcry against structural racism, there appears to be an increase in the rate at which firms are seeking to partner with built with Black business in the UK. Whilst it is still early days, more can be done in this area to increase racial diversity and inclusion.

As leadership ponders its next steps in supporting racial equality, it is important to consider how equitable processes can benefit Black-owned businesses by creating a more level playing field. Embedding inclusive practice within business partnerships and relationships, is an area for some material consideration.

Category: Community Author: BCDAlliance Date: 6 months ago Comments: 1

6 Easy Ways to Support Small Businesses (outside of spending money)
Category: Local,Small Business Author: BCDAlliance Date: 6 months ago Comments: 1

As I continue to watch the world shift around me, my goal remains the same, to leverage the power of the black economy to create sustainable change. In order to do this we must work collectively and support each other’s businesses consistently on a large scale. Going out and buying products and goods from every black business in your area may not be feasible, but there are a number of other ways to support small black-owned businesses. With a bit of creativity and time, you can aid in the growth of the businesses around you. 

Here are 6 easy ways to support small businesses

1. Write A Review

Online reviews have more power than you think. Hundreds of people turn to the internet to make their decision on what businesses to support. People like to read about the cleanliness of a restaurant or the quality of a good being sold at a small market. Writing a positive review may result in one more customer walking through the doors of your favorite local eatery. All you have to do is hope on an app like At Main Street, a great app for reviewing local businesses, and write a couple sentences about your favorite places to eat locally. It may not seem like it, but your review will make a huge impact on the longevity of the businesses you love. 

2. Follow them on social media 

In the digital age, followers are a big deal. The number of followers a business has on instagram can determine whether potential customers will even consider visiting them. People like to see that businesses have a large following because it gives them confidence that the product or service is valuable. Following a business on social media also gives the owners another opportunity to track their reach and better understand their clientele. 

3. Engage on social media 

Following your favorite businesses is a good first step but you can further boost your impact by interacting with their social media. You can boost their visibility by commenting on their posts, liking, and subscribing. By engaging with their social media pages your personal followers will become exposed to the business, hopefully leading them to becoming customers themselves. 

4. Word of Mouth

Word of mouth is old school marketing that will never die. Your friends and family trust your opinion. Sharing the positive experience you had at a restaurant may inspire them to go in and try it out for themselves. In many cases, the people you’re close to want to support the things that you care about and using your words and opinion to speak highly of a product or service is just what a small business needs. 

5. Sign up for Newsletter 

Weekly newsletters are one of the best ways a business can share new deals, products, and services. Signing up for newsletters will keep you in the loop about sales and keep you connected to everything going on at your favorite local businesses. When your favorite business sees that they have people subscribing to their newsletter, it can give them the boost of confidence they need to continue creating engaging emails and it legitimizes their efforts. 

6. Offer your services 

No matter what the prevailing viewpoints, the truth remains that we were put on this earth to be of service to others. Think about it, no matter what line of business you are in, you are serving someone or something. Are you a digital designer, social media marketer or business manager? Offer your services to one of your favorite local businesses at a discounted price or volunteer your services if you think they could use your help. Offering your gifts, whatever they may be, can take stress off the business and help create a lasting relationship between you and them. When you connect in this way, you are taking an extra step in not only supporting their business but you are also reaching the larger goal of connecting the black economy.

It doesn’t take a lot to show your support. Start where you are with the resources you have and go from there. Your continued support will not go unnoticed. If you really want to support local businesses, I can give you the tools to help. On your way out, check out At Main Street and BCDAlliance.

Be Well, Be Connected, Be of Service.

Janneh K. Wright

Empowering Black Women in Business Means More Than Ticking a Few Boxes
Category: Black Business,Woman-Owned Author: BCDAlliance Date: 6 months ago Comments: 0

It’s time to stop overlooking this key demographic. 


Empowering Black Women in Business Means More Than Ticking a Few Boxes
Photo: Getty Images/Illustration: Chloe Krammel

When the invisible woman is born and placed into her mother’s warm embrace, she doesn’t know she is invisible. At that moment, her invisibility exists only as a lingering fear in the back of her mother’s mind. Yet her mother has hopes that things will be different for her daughter than they were for her. The mother dreams her baby won’t be subjected to the injustices that she, the mother, has to face. The newborn’s only transgressions, after all, are her skin color and her gender.

Early on in her life, the invisible woman has glimpses of her invisibility, although she doesn’t quite understand what it means. It’s simply a mote of emotion that leaves her feeling out of place. It begins within her own family and the colorism that defines how they see her and, by learning through their examples, how she sees herself. “Don’t stay out in the sun too long–we don’t want you getting darker!” “We need to straighten that girl’s nappy hair!”

These messages, coupled with the stream of images and advertisements she sees every day of straight-haired and happy fair-skinned women living fantastic moments, coalesce around her into an environment that seems to value something other than what she is. Very early on, the invisible woman starts to feel as if she needs to be different if she wants to belong, if she wants to be loved. Little does she know that this is only the beginning. It is just the cusp of a lifetime of everyday indignities that will make her hunch her shoulders, hide her full lips, and use chemicals to straighten her curls.

She will try to accommodate these messages, to increase her visibility by conforming to what her environment seems to expect of her. Later on, she will always question which parts of her are genuine, and which parts emerged as an attempt to fit into a world that expects her to be something other than who she is. She will find her identity, but her true self will be fading away.

As customers, as colleagues, as human beings, Black women are the most neglected, underserved, and disregarded people in America. Black women are more often than not ignored by health care professionals, and they have a mortality rate during childbirth three to four times higher than that of non-Hispanic White women. Socioeconomic status, education, and other factors do not protect against this and other health disparities, because sexism and racism are the primary drivers. The invisible woman feels pain and is ignored and suffers from ailments that can be treated, if only medical professionals would actually see her.

Few Black women ever reach senior-level positions in corporate America, even with the highest levels of education. Over the past 40 years, only 13 percent of Black female Harvard MBAs have reached senior-most executive ranks. Thirty-five percent of college women are Black, and yet they make up only 3 percent of the top-wage workforce and are paid 39 percent less than White men and 21 percent less than White women. The invisible woman tries to shine, tries her hardest to be the best, but she becomes demoralized because her best will never be seen as good enough.

In the company where she works, perhaps your company, she is passed up time and time again for promotions and raises while being managed by people who don’t see what she could contribute–or see her at all. This person who was brought into the world with so much hope feels her own hope fading. Our public conversations about women in the workplace have mainly focused on the experiences of White women. The Black woman remains invisible. Her crucial perspectives go unheard, and we ignore why the disparities between White women and Black women–in earnings, advancement opportunities, unemployment rates, and in so many other areas­–continue to exist. There are ways you can help change this. I do not need to tell you that. Those who achieve positions of power in a complex hierarchy are resistant to change. It is human nature to stick with what has worked for us in the past. But in a changing environment, there is value in rethinking our process. We no longer live in the same world we grew up in.In a changing environment, there is value in rethinking our process.

This woman who is rarely seen, heard, or supported is forced to buy from companies that barely acknowledge her existence. She is rarely shown advertisements that she can relate to. Store owners treat her with disdain, following her around their shops as if she were a criminal. And her buying power, for her and her family, is incredibly under­estimated. For you, it is a missed opportunity to be a human and a smart businessperson.

What if instead of society, of you, treating her as invisible, you decided to see her, as she is? A powerful force with a different perspective; a shining beacon that illuminates all around her, driving the total Black spending power estimated to reach $1.5 trillion by 2021? What if companies specifically sought out Black women to hire for senior positions, not as a PR stunt or to tick a box, but because they understood that this untapped group of people with enormous spending power is aching to be seen and heard? What if brands sell to her in a way that is relatable to her, growing genuine customer loyalty? What if the invisible were finally, simply seen?

Is it as easy as hiring more Black women to high-power positions? Yes. That is a very good start. But then you have to not just listen, but also hear. You have to not just look, but also see. There is likely someone right now within your organization who has been overlooked. Someone whose perspective and personal experience would be a valuable asset to guide your organization through the current dynamic and quickly changing environment.

After all, how can a room full of White men and, maybe, a sprinkle of White women, along with a single invisible Black woman who is present but unseen and unheard, determine what products people of color need and want? Let us discuss ways to empathize with, even prioritize, the Black experience and understand that the Black experience isn’t the same as the White experience, but it is just as much an American experience. Accountability to the underrepresented needs to be addressed seriously as well as transparently to tackle the most persistent problems affecting all sections of society.

A shift in perception is needed. It’s hard to change, but you can do this. The hope is that one day, the invisible woman will cradle her own baby in her arms, and know that this child’s world will be different from the one she grew up in. She doesn’t think this is a goal that is very far out of reach. She can see it on the horizon. She has faith that her daughter will live a life filled with pride, purpose, and recognition. She thinks her daughter will be able to shape the future to her vision. She believes she will be seen.

5 Small-Business Trends to Pay Attention to in 2020
Category: Small Business,Trends Author: BCDAlliance Date: 6 months ago Comments: 0

5 Small-Business Trends to Pay Attention to in 2020

2020 hasn’t turned out like most companies expected, but these trends offer an opportunity to move the needle in the right direction.


5 Small-Business Trends to Pay Attention to in 2020
Getty Images

As an entrepreneur, you’ve likely had to embrace change lately so you not only continue to succeed, but you also find ways to dominate during unprecedented times. One of the best ways to gain a competitive edge is to stay on top of trends so you can create new opportunities and stay ahead of your competitors.

With that in mind, here are five trends all small business owners should embrace in 2020 and beyond. 

1. Employee health and wellness must become a priority. 

With the challenges that so many of us are facing during the Covid-19 pandemic, now more than ever is the time to prioritize the health and wellness of your teammates. There’s no question that this trend will continue throughout the rest of the year and beyond — top talent will expect nothing less. 

Research has found that investing in the health and wellness of employees can keep them engaged, motivated and productive. It can also benefit your bottom line.

The most obvious starting point is allowing your employees to work from home even beyond social distancing requirements end. If this isn’t an option, at least offer more flexible working arrangements so they can actually spend time with their families or make that doctor’s appointment they’ve been putting off.

2. AI will continue to change the business world.

Artificial intelligence (AI)has already changed the world. It can be used to thwart cyber attacks, and AI and machine learning can help you plan your employees’s schedules, particularly if they shift workspaces or projects frequently. AI can also help pinpoint when you should have meetings by reviewing past data, noting how people within your organization spend their time.

Beyond that, this technology can automate boring and monotonous tasks, assist in the hiring process and improve your analytics so you can gain a competitive edge. 

3. Mobile marketing will be used more creatively. 

“Mobile is one trend that will surely grow in 2020 and well into the future,” wrote Kalin Kassabov in a previous Inc.com article. This could not ring truer with the pandemic going on and everyone staying more connected through their phones. In fact, by next year, it’s expected that there will be 3.8 billion smartphone users worldwide.

Kassabov recommends that you take advantage of mobile’s popularity by using “geo-targeting to provide targeted ads to customers who are close to your business.” Another option is to create an app for your business that enables you to share promotions and updates with customers.  

Kassabov also notes you could also leverage SMS or text marketing to stay in contact with your customers if they opt in. Beyond extending offers, you can empower them to make mobile payments. 

You can also use smartphones to tell stories or livestream videos via your company’s social accounts. Doing so will help your business become more visible and engaging to a video-hungry audience. 

4. Younger consumers will declare World War Z.

Generation Z, the people born between 1995 and 2012, now outnumber Millennials. They’re not only entering the workforce during an unprecedented time, but they’re also representing a massive potential customer base. As such, you need to cater to their unique preferences and values if you want to see your fan base grow in the coming decade. 

Based on my observation, Gen Z tends to want brands to be socially conscious. Members of Gen Z can be more diverse and inclusive. They strive for learning opportunities; even though they’re notoriously tech-savvy, they also treasure old-fashioned face time with others. Capitalizing on these preferences can not only make your company more attractive to Gen Zers, but also more innovative as a whole.

5. It’s time to go cashless. 

It’s not exactly a new concept, but with every passing year, the number of non-cash transactions continues to rise. Between 2016 and 2017 alone, there was a 10 percent increase. With the pandemic taking place, I imagine that digital payments will only continue to increase this year.

That’s not to say there aren’t challenges. You may exclude some potential cash-loving customers. You also have to be concerned with fees, and there are privacy concerns. Plus, you’ll want to consider local legislation before making any sudden moves. As an example, New York City lawmakers passed a bill last January to ban cashless businesses.

Even if you host an e-commerce site, you may want to expand your payment method options by accepting payments via Amazon Pay, PayPal, Google Pay, Apple Pay, Square, Stripe, or even cryptocurrencies. Moreover, look into options that allow your customers to pay via text. According to one study, 35 percent of customers are interested in this option, but it’s only offered by 4 percent of businesses. 

Change is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be bad. While not all of these trends will be beneficial to your business during this unique time, each is worth exploring if you want to see growth — both in the short term and the long term.

Category: Community,Nonprofit Author: BCDAlliance Date: 7 months ago Comments: 0