MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Mary ‘MJ’ McConner launched her company in the Bluff City to help other businesses represent the values and principles of the communities they serve.
“Part of the reason I decided to headquarter my business here in Memphis is because of the support that is provided to so many Black-owned business owners here in the city,” said McConner, the founder of Inclusive Excellence Consulting.
African Americans make up 14 percent of the United States population. However, less than two percent of businesses with employees in the United States are Black-owned, according to the Brookings Institution.
“People don't realize just how significant the racial wealth gap is, especially for Black business owners and entrepreneurs,” she explained. “One of the fastest growing entrepreneur groups in America is Black women.”
A new tool offered by the Black Business Association hopes to help entrepreneurs grow their dreams and hire more people.
“One of the main barriers and needs that we're constantly hearing is the need for marketing,” said Ernest Strickland, the president/CEO of the association. “So this is an innovative effort on our part. It's something that's new and catchy, and we're excited to launch it.”
With the help of a FedEx grant, the association is offering a “digital ribbon cutting” service. Staffers will record the business owners cutting a ribbon and then post it to social media with animations to help them spread the word.
“When we have success in the Black community and Black businesses, we all share that success,” he explained.
The president of the NAACP Memphis Branch hopes it will help Black business owners take a chance on their dreams.
“A lot of times we have dreams, but we are afraid to chase our dreams because we could think that it's not going to work,” Vickie Terry explained. “But I promise you it will.”
McConner devotes 10% of her budget to marketing. She told FOX13 that the skill is essential for entrepreneurs who want to create wealth and grow their businesses.
“People have to know you and your brand,” she explained.
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