SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Each year during the month of August, communities across the country observe Black Business Month — a time to recognize and celebrate the successes, milestones, and historical progress of Black business owners. It’s also an observance and call to action for the challenges, issues, and barriers that still exist today.
Historically, Black businesses have endured systemic racism and even violence, such as the Tulsa massacre in Oklahoma back in 1921. During the past year and a half, the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately impacted Black businesses. The Washington Post reports that this resulted in a 40 percent drop in Black business ownership.
Michelda George, founder of Versatile Image joined ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen on the CW30 News at 7 p.m. for an IN FOCUS discussion. She talked about what prompted her interest in business ownership, the services that her company provides to the community, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Black business community, how social media plays a role in keeping companies afloat, and why there’s a need to push for more community support for Black business owners.
Kandi Tesen, co-owner of Eats Bakery shared what inspired her to open up her own company with her family, whether the pandemic impacted their business, the role that social media played in their success, the challenges she’s faced as a Black business owner, her advice to young entrepreneurs looking to start their own company, and what lies ahead for the future.
Steven Johnson, CEO of Luke, Johnson, and Lewis, LLC and chairman of the board for the Utah Black Chamber of Commerce discussed the services his business provides to the community, what the Chamber observed with the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact on Black businesses, the significant role of social media, how recent social justice movements put a spotlight on Black-owned businesses, and the advice he would give to other aspiring business owners.
To watch the full IN FOCUS discussion with George, Tesen, and Johnson, click on the video at the top of the article.
Catch IN FOCUS discussions with ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen weeknights on the CW30 News at 7 p.m.