While the city is one of the most renowned hubs in the South, its impact can be felt all over. “Atlanta’s appeal and success for the last century has been its ability to see Black-owned businesses start from nothing and see the heights of success not capable in other markets across the US,” shared one of our guest panelists King Williams. “Especially B2C businesses with majority Black customers.”
We welcomed special Atlanta made guests documentary filmmaker, journalist, King Williams; digital content creator maven, Mattie James; digital director, writer + creator of cultural experiences, Kia Smith; and journalist, editor, copywriter, and content specialist Mike Jordan (not THAT one!) to the discussion.
Here are a few things the good city of Atlanta taught us from our May #blkcreatives Twitter Chat – Building The Future: Black Business In Atlanta in partnership with Square + The Culture LP:
May these notes support you on your journey for connecting with your own city:
Substantial support of Black businesses – locally and nationally – should NOT be a trend. If it’s authentic, it’s intentional without a call to action.
“Doing business with Black companies shouldn’t be a trend. It shouldn’t be an afterthought. It must be intentional and part of our daily lives,” Kia Smith tweeted. “If you sit at a table that makes decisions about business 2 business partnerships or hires consultants, make sure Black businesses and professionals are being considered. Or even better, if you’re a consumer, make sure the products you purchase most often are from Black-owned companies. Everything from my whiskey to my makeup to my feminine products are from Black-owned companies.”
Even though the pandemic has been hard on businesses, Atlanta is proof of how Black business owners have risen to the challenge of keeping their local economy going. “We showed up not only for ourselves, but for each other’s businesses as well,” Mattie James shared. “Whether it was people launching new ventures or a brick & mortar business adapting to curbside or online alternatives – WE. SHOWED. UP.”
As Mike pointed out, starting in your area and venturing out can lead to support that so many Black businesses deserve. “Start in your Atlanta neighborhood, and go beyond,” advised Mike Jordan. “Visit that Mom/Pop restaurant. Buy art from Atlanta artists. Shop and hire local. Give back. Be a true ATLien. Charity AND investment begin at home. Show love.”“Charity AND investment begin at home.” – @michaelbjordan for #blkcreatives in partnership with @TheCultureLP + @Square Click To Tweet
The future = new opportunities and looking around and ahead requires us to be supportive and mindful of how this can impact people in our communities.
“Tech = the future. Coding should be part of Atlanta Public Schools @apsupdate curriculum. We must train ATL’s kids to be tech leaders of tomorrow,” shared guest Mike Jordan. “Major tech players are coming to town; we should welcome them, but they must break bread. And we can’t forget to invest in arts.
“The biggest growth opportunities for black businesses will be along the lines of commercial real estate, technology: software based startups, fintech, and agtech,” shared King. “Restaurants, political lobbyists, and education are immediate growth industries for Black people in ATL.”
“Being able to be in community, partnership and business with other Black businesses feels special and isn’t something you can do in every city; Atlanta is shifting,” tweeted Kia.
Another exciting thing about the future? That is it ours to build, as Mattie tweeted to remind us: “There is no longer a mold. Black businesses are everything from successful vegan restaurants to beauty subscription boxes. And the Black dollar is circulating in our community better than ever before.”“There is no longer a mold. Black businesses are everything from successful vegan restaurants to beauty subscription boxes. And the Black dollar is circulating in our community better than ever before.” – @themattiejames for #blkcreatives Click To Tweet
Representation = responsibility and accountability to our communities
“One of the things that makes Atlanta special is the fact that it is a hub for Black-owned businesses. Nearly 30% of businesses in the Atlanta metro area are Black-owned, this means we have representation at the table when economic issues are discussed. And with that comes responsibility,” Kia tweeted.
“A responsibility to ensure that the policies and structures benefit our communities and help create a sustainable livelihood for others. Our access shouldn’t just improve our lives. It should improve the lives of our employees, our neighbors, and all of those in our communities.”“Our access shouldn’t just improve our lives. It should improve the lives of our employees, our neighbors, and all of those in our communities.” – @kiaspeaks for #blkcreatives in partnership with @TheCultureLP + @Square Click To Tweet
“Without Atlanta’s Black businesses, and the ability to provide an example for sustainable Black-powered economic leadership, there would be one less way to prove the concept of #BlackExcellence,” shared Mike. “And Atlanta may not be perfect, but it does have that in spades.”
“We talk a lot about new Atlanta and old Atlanta, and I think it’s important for Black business owners to be aware of how neighborhoods and demographics are changing so their businesses can continue to grow in the changing communities AND #blkcreatives,” Kia tweeted. “So they can make sure the people who have been living in these changing communities don’t get left behind. That is part of the responsibility of sitting at these tables…to make sure Black folks who aren’t there don’t get left behind.”
The history, culture, and soul of America was built by Black people. Our future will be no different. It’s happening in places like Atlanta, and all over, with businesses like the ones featured in Square’s ‘The Future Is Built’ campaign.
Thinking about relocating and making a move to Atlanta? You’ll want to check out this guide