On Wednesday, June 16, in honor and celebration of Juneteenth, the Initiative for a competitive Inner City (ICIC) and the National Business League hosted a dynamic and informative panel discussion titled, “A Frank Conversation About the Future of Black Businesses.”
More than 250 participants joined the discussion moderated by Steven S. Rogers, retired Harvard Business School Professor and author of “A Letter To My White Friends And Colleagues: Things You Can Do Now To Help The Black Community,” to candidly examine systemic and structural barriers facing Black-owned businesses in America and steps we can all take to help build and support sustainable Black-owned business ecosystems.
Rogers was joined by a dynamic panel of business leaders that included Kim Folsom, Founder and CEO, Founders First CDC; Dr. Ken Harris, President and CEO, National Business League; and, Reginald Humphrey, Director of DEI Partnerships, General Motors.
“Let’s talk about the reality of what’s happened to Black-owned businesses. Over the last two years, we’ve lost approximately 40% of Black-owned businesses,” Rogers shared with all in attendance. “Forty percent of Black business have closed as a result of COVID.”
He added by asking the panel, “What does the future, the immediate future look like in terms of rebounding to recoup those businesses?” A dynamic and engaging hour-plus-long discussion ensued:
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