Each February, Black History Month serves as a celebration of — and a tribute to — the generations of African Americans who have struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society.
As the number of U.S. Black-owned businesses continues to rise, the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) applauds that success and offers trade finance tools to help these companies begin or expand their export sales.
“All of us at the Export-Import Bank of the United States are proud to join this celebration, which serves as a powerful reminder that Black history is American history, Black culture is American culture, and Black stories are essential to the ongoing story of America,” said EXIM President and Chair Reta Jo Lewis. “To underscore the significance of that message, EXIM will be providing numerous resources for your businesses throughout Black History Month. We are committed to helping historically underserved companies succeed, and our support will continue throughout the year.”
EXIM President and Chair Reta Jo Lewis celebrates Black History Month. You also can view her message here.
Black-Owned Businesses Continue to Increase
The most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows the number of minority-owned businesses — including Black- or African American-owned businesses — continues to grow in all sectors of the U.S. economy.
The Census Bureau found that in 2020:
- There were 140,918 Black-owned businesses across all sectors of the U.S. economy.
- Those businesses generated $141.1 billion in annual sales.
- They accounted for 1.3 million employees and about $42.2 billion in annual payroll.
- The highest concentration of these businesses — more than 27 percent (38,819) — was in the health care and social assistance sector.
This graphic from the U.S. Census Bureau illustrates the growing number of Black-owned businesses in various sectors of the economy.
Helping Historically Underserved Companies Succeed
EXIM’s Minority and Women-Owned Business Division (MWOB) can help other U.S. businesses duplicate that success. The MWOB team works closely with organizations that have a minority trade focus, to help spread the word to underserved communities about EXIM financing and create opportunities for export-ready U.S. companies that are owned by minorities, women, veterans, and people with disabilities.
Becoming a More Fair and Just Society
Black History Month dates to 1926, when historian Carter G. Woodson founded Negro History Week. The timing in February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of President Abraham Lincoln and abolitionist Fredrick Douglass — two symbols of American freedom who played key roles in shaping Black history. Fifty years later, President Gerald Ford extended the observation to a full month during the nation’s bicentennial in 1976, and presidents have issued proclamations every year since.
This year, in proclaiming February as Black History Month, President Joe Biden underscored his administration’s commitment to honor and continue the work of Black Americans who have created a more fair and inclusive democracy.
“During National Black History Month, we celebrate the legacy of Black Americans whose power to lead, to overcome, and to expand the meaning and practice of American democracy has helped our Nation become a more fair and just society. This country was established upon the profound but simple idea that all people are created equal and should be treated equally throughout their lives,” he said.
EXIM is committed to prioritizing equity and providing resources for U.S. small businesses. To find out how EXIM can help your business compete in the global marketplace in 2023 and beyond, schedule a free consultation with a trade finance specialist and launch your export journey today.