Cynthia Daniels: Five easy ways to support black-owned businesses

The following is a guest post by Cynthia Daniels, chief event strategist at Cynthia Daniels & Co. Daniels will join four other Memphis business leaders for "Economic Justice in the City," a speaker event hosted by High Ground News at Clayborn Temple on February 28. Find out more about the free event here.

In a city with the majority is the minority, we tend to leave out a representative portion of our black restaurants and these very restaurants have grown to become hidden treasures.

Memphis Black Restaurant Week aims to counter economic disparity with fun and interactive solutions that engage, excite and ignite a deeper understanding and love of Memphis food culture while encouraging agency in the future of the city.  

This effort provides minority-owned restaurants with marketing opportunities that are otherwise cost restrictive with a goal of promoting Memphis food tourism and multicultural engagement. In 2016, MBRW offered exposure and supported eight black-owned restaurants.

In 2017, Memphis Black Restaurant Week expanded its model to nine cities. This year’s edition, which runs from March 6 to 12, names Sweet Potato Baby, Two Vegan Sistas and The Choo among participating restaurants.
Look For Them
It may take some homework to identify black-owned businesses because they are not as abundant in communities. Maybe you have to drive a little further but know that by doing this, you are supporting a black-owned business.

Try Something New
This is a great opportunity for consumers to mix it up and try different products and services they may end up liking even more than those they were used to purchasing from mainstream businesses. Nix the stereotyping and respect black products.

Spread the word on social media
Once you find businesses you like make sure other people know about them. Everyone loves having a secret, favorite local spot, but holding on to that information doesn't bring those businesses any revenue. Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr are all great starting places to spread the word about local business you love.

Host events at black-owned businesses
Have a birthday, meeting or special event coming up? Keep a local black business in mind. Not only does this spread awareness, it brings new customers through the door.

Chamber of Commerce
This step will take a little bit of effort but it’s worth it in the end especially if you happen to be a business owner. Your city’s Chamber of Commerce or the National Black Chamber of Commerce can be used to find local business and who owns them. Most Chambers’ membership list can be searched for free. However, if you’d like to join there is usually a fee. The Chamber usually holds meetings and networking events where business owners get together to network and build relationships. Partnerships, business relationships, and referrals are common among members.
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