Every August, Black Business Month provides an opportunity to recognize and support Black-owned businesses and the crucial role they play in the U.S. economy. The Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) supports these companies by offering the trade finance tools they need to export goods and services to the global marketplace.
Black Business Month began in 2004 when John William Templeton, a journalist and historian, along with Frederick E. Jordan, an engineer and entrepreneur, founded the annual observance to foster support for and recognize the accomplishments of Black-owned businesses.
To further that objective, EXIM President and Chair Reta Jo Lewis is presenting a special message from EXIM to celebrate Black Business Month and the nation’s 3.6 million Black-owned businesses.
“All of us at the Export-Import Bank of the United States applaud the important contributions these businesses make to the economy and to the nation,” Chair Lewis said. “We are committed to supporting historically underserved companies and to ensuring that American workers can count on EXIM standing side-by-side with them as they compete around the world.”
EXIM President and Chair Reta Jo Lewis celebrates Black Business Month. You also can view her message here.
A Growing Number of Black-Owned Businesses
The number of U.S. Black-owned businesses continues to grow in all sectors of the U.S. economy, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which found that:
- The total number of Black-owned businesses is nearly 3.6 million. That represents a combination of businesses with one employee plus businesses with more than one employee, which are counted separately by the Census Bureau.
- The nonemployer businesses totaled nearly 3.5 million, or 12.7 percent of all U.S. nonemployer businesses. They generated annual receipts of $83.6 billion. Nonemployer businesses are those with one employee, are subject to federal income tax, and have receipts of $1,000 or more.
- Black-owned employer businesses — those with more than one employee — totaled 140,918. They accounted for 1.3 million employees and about $141.1 billion in annual sales.
Show Up with EXIM by Your Side
Steven Hightower, President & CEO of Hightowers Petroleum Co. in Middletown, Ohio, turned to EXIM’s Export Credit Insurance to help offset the risks of doing business internationally.
“When we’re starting to do larger transactions on a global basis, having credit insurance was really one of the key elements that caused some of the financial institutions to get comfortable with our international trade. So actually, I think we probably would not be as far as we are today had it not been for EXIM Bank,” he said. “But most importantly, just being able to show up credible with EXIM by your side is really, really a big help to our growth in the upstream part of the business.”
For Dondre Anderson, CEO of Symphony Chips in Atlanta, Georgia, partnering with EXIM helped the company take advantage of export opportunities and grow the business.
“My message to all of the entrepreneurs out there is: The U.S. is just the beginning,” he said. “I believe if you set limitations for yourself, you will bump up against yourself every time. There’s a world out there that wants your products. You have to be willing and ready to go beyond your own borders. So don’t stop, look ahead, look forward, and again, hone it here in the U.S. and then expand across the world.”
That’s a message regularly repeated by Melissa Muhammad, Founder & CEO of Black & Global Business Network in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, when she introduces companies to government agencies that can help them expand their business and increase their revenues. She also serves on EXIM’s Council on Small Business.
“Five percent of the global market is within the U.S., and we tell businesses: Why should you be limited to doing business within the U.S. when 95% of the market is around the world? And you compete for contracts here, which is great, but you should include international business as a part of your portfolio, and the government has the export ecosystem to help you do that,” she said.
EXIM is committed to supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion. To help spread the word about EXIM financing to underserved communities, EXIM’s Minority and Women-Owned Business Division (MWOB) works closely with organizations that have a minority trade focus to create opportunities for U.S. companies that are owned by minorities, women, veterans, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQ+ community along with rural and startup businesses.
To find out how EXIM can help your business compete in the global marketplace, schedule a free consultation with a member of the MWOB team and launch your export journey today.