Last year brought about an increase in new black entrepreneurs – Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky

Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky 2021-09-22 09:49:01 –

Douglasville, Georgia — A quiet dead end in Douglasville, Georgia, where cars get lazy every few minutes. Clouds drift across the passive sky. The activity is minimal.

But in that dead end house, the new business owner is working hard in a cluttered room.

“We’re adding a label to the package,” says Michelle Youngblood. “Then I’ll update Instagram for the day.”

Young Blood’s home office is dotted with affirmations. A printed Instagram post tells her, “Money is coming!” The sticky note says, “I refuse to give in to the feeling of defeat!”

Young Blood said in the message: It’s okay to breathe. “

She runs a boutique clothing line called brooklynn & blake. It is named after the twins, now teenagers, who support various aspects of the business.

Young Blood launched its business last year with the largest percentage of new black entrepreneurs in decades.

African Americans make up 13% of the US population, but only 2% of US business owners. According to a Kaufman Foundation survey, the percentage of new black business owners reached 13% for the first time last year.

This is important for many reasons, but all in a nutshell is “power.”

“I think the conversation has changed,” said David Clunie, executive director of the Black Economic Alliance (BEA).

The BEA Foundation has partnered with two Atlanta HBCUs, Spelman College and Morehouse College, and Bank of America to develop a Black Entrepreneurship Center on two campuses. Bank of America has committed $ 10 million over two years.

“This is the best innovation, because it’s part of a population that has been locked out of business for centuries,” said Bank of America executive Ebony Thomas.

This kind of commitment has been emerging since the spring of 2020. The death of George Floyd caused national protests and amplified the need for racial equality nationwide. Big companies have promised money. The intention of “buying black” was born. A road that did not exist was opened.

“It’s scale and scope, and even the essence of these commitments,” Clooney said. “And it’s not just the amount of dollars, it’s really heading towards building a new infrastructure for blacks to build wealth for them to maintain and pass.”

But in 2020 another calculation came. It’s a pandemic that has affected the world and unemployed millions of people.

This includes Youngblood.

“I participated in public relations and worked for a health care company,” she recalled. “I received an email that morning. It was a meeting between the director and the HR manager. And when we meet with HR, we all know what that means. . “

Her suspicion was correct. Young Blood had been fired.

“I started to get emotional,” she said. “I almost cried … I think I cried a little. And I said,” God, what do you know? Trust you.'”

Young Blood has been sketching clothing designs for years. The pandemic gave her a window to chase her dreams.

Nine months later, she sold enough products and made enough progress to buy a new showroom in the northern suburbs of Atlanta.

“I feel like the world is putting you in a box,” she said, preparing to continue the morning of activity on a calm suburban street. “This removes the limit.”

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