Running my own black business (month)

“And I’m here still grinding / I need capital to seal the deal.” – Lil Baby

How about everyone!

It’s no secret that black-owned businesses can be powerful vehicles for advancing economic empowerment and closing the racial wealth gap in the black community. And, as a recent Forbes The stories illustrate, Black businesses can also be vessels of culture and diversity, from creating spaces that resonate with Black consumers to championing Black voices and talent. In honor of National Black Business Month, some of these stories are worth highlighting.

Earlier this month I reported on how black millennials are redefining weekend brunch and black restaurateurs are meeting that demand. One of the big takeaways is that even though these business owners serve all ethnicities, they are unapologetic about creating experiences that appeal to black diners. Houston is one of the hot spots for black brunch, so check out this video featuring two entrepreneurs there who were early movers in the trend.

Also on the For(bes) The Culture radar is a story by writer Maggie McGrath about incredible health, which recently raised $80 million at a $1.65 billion valuation and is led by a black female founder. And reporter Arianna Johnson recently spoke with Ayesha Curry about entering the world of book publishing through her company Sweet July, in part to give women authors of color a platform.

But it’s not all gravy. Black-owned businesses make up only 2.3% of all U.S. businesses (with at least two employees), while the U.S. black population is 13.6%. On that note, this cover story by writer Will Yakowicz about the super tough business of legal cannabis is worth checking out. Legalizing weed has long been viewed as an effort that could create viable entrepreneurial avenues, especially for many of the black Americans who have been disproportionately prosecuted for selling it. So far, that viability seems dubious, as some of the more resourceful pot companies are struggling.

The last thing I’ll share is about Gracie’s Corner, the super catchy YouTube nursery rhyme series (Heyyyyy, Bingo!) that has racked up millions of views. Raquel “Rocky” Harris is talking to the family behind it today at 3 pm ET on Instagram Live. (The full interview is here.)

Stay awake!

Black Millennials are transforming brunch from quiet buffets to trendy Insta-worthy parties. Dressing up for “Sunday Funday” and going to restaurants for chicken and waffles, endless mimosas and hip-hop DJs are some of the hallmarks of the growing “Black brunch” trend.

Dr. Iman Abuzeid brings incredible health to the unicorn state with $80M Series B. Iman Abuzeid launched nurse recruitment startup Incredible Health in 2017 as a way to help healthcare workers find permanent positions. Five years later, she has guided her company to a $1.65 billion valuation, becoming one of the few black female founders at the helm of a unicorn company.

Weed vs. Greed: How America Botched Legalizing Pot. Through over-regulation and over-taxation, the US government has exploited the easiest revenue opportunity ever: legalized drugs. “What is legalization doing to small business owners like me?” asks Amber Senter, CEO of MAKR, which produces pot-infused edibles and other offerings. “It’s killing us.”

Ayesha Curry adds book publishing to the Sweet July brand through a new partnership. Curry said Forbes who recently signed a deal with book publishing company Zando to publish books under the Sweet July Books label or publishing trade name. He said he will emphasize giving writers of color a platform in an industry where 76 percent of editorial staff, critics and literary staff are white.

“[I]It’s probably not a good idea to overlook women CEOs or black CEOs. Because they are generating an enormous amount of value in business. And you overlook it on your own.”

Iman AbuzeidCo-founder and CEO of Incredible Health

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