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3 Tips for Success from Minority Entrepreneurs

Minority-owned enterprises made up more than 50% of the 2 million new businesses started in the United States in the past 10 years, according to the US Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.  There are now more than 4 million minority-owned companies in the US, boasting annual sales of around $700 billion, altogether.

As the US Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship noted, there is still a disparity in access to capital and entrepreneurial development opportunities for minority-owned firms. “Though minorities make up 32% of our population, minority business ownership represents only 18% of the population.”

Minority entrepreneurs face a unique set of challenges in navigating the path to business success. Three minority entrepreneurs in Calgary, Alberta, shared their advice in a recent article in the Calgary Journal.  Eddie Richardson, president of Genesis Basketball; Joyce Okunsi, CEO of Joyce’s Closet; and Beni Johnson, founder of 10at10 media platform have all launched successful businesses in the face of discrimination and financial barriers.

  1. Don’t let stereotypes define you

“Whenever I was given a job or a task I would always try to be the most educated on it.” said Johnson. “People were racist in their ways. If something does not look like you, people get afraid of it, so it was a combination of many things.”

  1. Don’t let barriers stop you

“In fashion, I faced many barriers. I had to work twice as hard to prove my credibility as a stylist. Because I am a black woman, I was excluded from many things that I should have been a part of.” said Okunsi.

  1. Don’t forget that your experiences are valuable

“I’ve worked through a lot to get to where I am and I still have a lot ahead of me,” said Richardson. “I hope that my story inspires others to never settle and to push through adversity because anything is possible.”

How Black-Run Newspapers Changed the World: Black History Month

To mark this year’s Black History Month, we’re taking a look at the impact and import of African-American journalism through the past century, specifically in the realm of Black-run Newspapers and their ongoing legacy in the modern landscape of journalism.

Black newspapers throughout the 19th and 20th centuries represented the first wave of media being tailored for specific audiences outside what was considered the mainstream, a trend that grew to encompass almost every minority group — and spread globally in a few scant decades. They serve as some of the few written records of African-American lives and culture spanning a period of over a century, and represent a treasure trove of historic documentation of black culture of the era.

Black-run newspapers, like Frederick Douglass’ North Star and Samuel Cornish’s Freedom’s Journal ,served simultaneously as sources of information connecting black communities around the U.S. — and beyond — and as ongoing rallying cries for the abolitionist and civil rights movements. They illustrate how powerful the media industry can be when it comes to influencing social and political change — and the media’s ability to connect communities and enable communication and organization.

Frederick Douglass, founder of the North Star. Source: National Archives and Records Administration

 

As of 2002, around 200 black newspapers remained in circulation. Black-run and black-focused media has suffered, alongside most other journalism outlets, with the decline of print media. But  a proliferation of news-media websites tailored to black communities took root online — and they offer valuable outlooks on the lives and culture of modern black communities on a more accessible platform than has ever before been available.

While the voice and the culture has changed and evolved with the times, the spirit of African-American journalism lives on in the digital publications of the modern age. Capable of reaching quite literally millions of people and encompassing a more diverse audience than ever before, the black newspapers of yesteryear paved the way for the digital outlets of today.

Aside from its value as a teaching point about the power of media, preserving the history of black newspapers will allow us to remind future generations of their ancestors’ impact on the world around them, with names like Frederick Douglass, Samuel Cornish, Daisy Bates, and Ida Wells serving as inspirations and role models for the the black community — and beyond.