Small Business Update: Celebrating the successes of Black-Owned businesses – Tom Sullivan

On the latest episode of the U.S. Chamber Small Business Update, anchor Shyann Malone is joined by Tom Sullivan. Sullivan, the Vice President of Small Business Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, shares insights into the economic outlook for 2024 and the significance of Black History Month for small businesses.

Key Takeaways 

1. According to the Chamber of Commerce, Black History Month allows the organization to highlight the most prestigious Black-owned businesses. For example, America’s Top Small Business Award winner for this past year was Lillian Werbin, a Black-owned entrepreneur for Elderly Instrument small business, and Black History Month is an outstanding opportunity to share her story on a world stage through the platform of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “We hope to share Werbin’s story and inspire other black entrepreneurs to be as successful as she has been,” says Sullivan. 

2. Another great example is Tj and Hadley Douglas; they also won the Top Small Business Award a few years ago. They used the $25,000 reward money to launch The Progressive Wine Company, dedicated to bringing the wineries industry to the Black-owned business world.

3. Throughout the month, the Chamber emphasizes the success stories of Black-owned businesses. The organization has also partnered with larger vendors like Intuit’s Quickbooks, which recently launched its own black-owned business study. The study revealed that support for Black-owned businesses increased by 56% in 2023 compared to after the George Floyd murder. 

4. Moreover, 96% of Black business owners supported a Black-owned business at least once in the last year. According to Sullivan, there is still a significant gap between minorities’ support for Black-owned businesses and their support for themselves. Patronizing a Black-owned business not only means diminishing your odds of getting a great product or service but also prohibiting Black owners from overcoming the stigma that they don’t believe in themselves.

5. With the survey the Chamber conducts every quarter with MetLife, it found 64% of small businesses say the overall health of their business is very or somewhat good with their current cash flow. 

"The reason the Chamber is bullish on small businesses for 2024 is that we have been experiencing record high start-ups for the past four years, from the application process to launching the business." – Tom Sullivan. 

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