The COVID-19 Pandemic took a major toll on America’s small businesses, with Black and brown-owned businesses suffering disproportionately. A recent report from the Economy League shared research estimating that “roughly 40 percent of Black-owned businesses nationally have closed due to the pandemic-induced recession” with some research predicting up to a 60 percent attrition rate.
That story bears out in the Philadelphia region, where only 2.5% of businesses identify as Black-owned and only 5.4% of businesses in the city are Black-owned.
“The Black Enterprise mission is to close the racial wealth gap,” says Alfred Edmond, senior vice president and editor at large for Black Enterprise. “You can’t do that without having more Black-owned businesses and more importantly, Black-owned businesses of scale.”
Black Enterprise has brought back its National Entrepreneurs Summit as an in-person event in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Convention Center from May 18 to May 20. Their goal, says Edmond, is to connect with Black entrepreneurs, create networking opportunities, spread ideas and resources for growth and expansion.
“We’re well established as the largest entrepreneurs conference event for black entrepreneurs on both existing and established new startups,” he says, “And most importantly, in the current environment, for those who are ready to make that leap, who may be working a job, may have a side business, or we have a business idea they haven’t really executed on yet — we are the place to be.”
Hundred founders, investors and emerging business owners are expected to attend the three day summit, including local speakers like Rashaad Lambert, Founder of For(bes) The Culture, and Danielle Jeter of AOI Events & Women in Media Global.
Edmond is a speaker as well.
“I’m going to be leading a session on the food business and how we can really get more Black entrepreneurs succeeding in the food business with the use of our restaurants,” he says, “we’ll talk about products that are sold through retail- there’s just a variety of places where you can generate revenue in that business and we have a foothold in that space and we can grow it.”
In recent weeks, the “Slutty Vegan” Brand raised $25 million dollars and is currently valued at $100 million. Edmond believes there are many hidden gems and opportunities for growth and wealth among Black entrepreneurs.
“The beauty industry is a multi-billion dollar industry and we know that black women in particular, whether it’s hair, makeup, skincare- we are a major market for that industry,” says Edmond.