Black Consumers and Sellers Gear Up For Historic We Buy Black Convention
The second annual event plans to honor the enslaved Africans who arrived in 1619, and reclaim the power of Black commerce.
This August marks 400 years since the first Africans reached the shores of Jamestown, Virginia where they were auctioned for sale as slaves. In remembrance of this historic event, one millennial entrepreneur is planning a different kind of sale – one that he hopes will impact the next 400 years of African-American history.
On Aug. 23-25, 2019, over 120 Black-owned vendors and consumers will gather at the second-annual We Buy Black Convention in Atlanta at the Georgia International Convention Center. There will be Black-owned companies selling everything from soaps and shea butter to laundry detergent, bed linens, and toothbrushes. While the items themselves may represent the routines of everyday life, event organizer and founder of e-commerce site WeBuyBlack.com, Shareef Abdul-Malik says that the impact of this singular commercial event has significance beyond its surface.
“This year’s convention is deeper on a lot of levels because our people were brought to this country to be bought and sold,” said Abdul-Malik. “So, not only are we honoring our ancestors and how their struggle for freedom and justice got us where we are today, but we’re also reclaiming the effects of capitalism that enslaved us in the first place.”
At just 27, Abdul-Malik is already a veteran when it comes to connecting Black consumers with Black-owned businesses, but he hopes this convention will help get the Black community excited about the wide variety of high-quality products Black businesses have to offer and inspire others to become business owners themselves.
“Our mission is for the average Black family to be able to easily and efficiently buy everything they want and need from a Black vendor,” Abdul-Malik said. “We’ve been able to help business owners sell and market their goods, but now we need more Black manufacturers.”
With the theme “Setting the Precedent for the Next 400 Years”, the convention will begin with the Inaugural The Next 400 Gala, honoring Yusuf Salaam of the Central Park 5, Mo’Nique the comedian and entertainer, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf who preceded Kaepernick by 20 years and lost his NBA career due to his political stance, and lastly Dr. Key Hallmon of the Village Market ATL. This Gala will be hosted by Derrick Boazman of WAOK 1380 Radio, and Cleveland Councilman Bashir Jones will be the Keynote Speaker. There are only 400 tickets available to attend this Gala that Friday evening.
The weekend includes workshops on business ownership and manufacturing, alongside the vast array of Black-owned products that will be sold. There will also be B2B Speed Consulting Sessions and a “Shark Tank” style pitch competition called Pitch Black.
The event also boasts live performances from national and local recording artists, a Popcorn Competition, and a Children’s Village, where youth participants can engage with Black-owned brands and performers on their own level.
On Sunday, August 25th, The We Buy Black Convention will be the United States satellite location to observe the international moment of silence in commemoration for the 400 years. This weekend will be full of notable moments in our history and it’s definitely something that deserves our participation.
“Even if you just come to replenish your supply of toothbrushes or get your child a new backpack for school, you’ve contributed to something that will help generations of Black people,” he said. “I think our ancestors would be proud of what we’re trying to do.”
We Buy Black Convention
Aug. 23-25, 2019
Georgia International Convention Center
2000 Convention Center Concourse – Atlanta, GA 30337
Tickets and more information can be found at www.webuyblackconvention.com.
WeBuyBlack.com is the largest online marketplace for Black-owned businesses and individual sellers. By giving Black businesses and sellers access to a diverse, open, and international market, WeBuyBlack stimulates the circulation of wealth among the Black Diaspora and assists Black businesses in providing for families and communities at large.
Online Tool Helps in Finding Grants and Tax Incentives
Black-owned fintech and finance company Novae LLC announced the launch of a new online tool designed to help small businesses to find grants and tax incentives that can help them to grow exponentially.
Called Novae Grants, the new tool will allow users to search a database of thousands of financial assistance opportunities from both the government and the private sector. Tax credits that small businesses may qualify for will also be included in the database.
Novae founder Reco McCambry says that the grants his team is gathering for inclusion in the database range from $500 to $5 million in size, and are designed to help business owners serve their communities. The grants include town- and city-based grants to revitalize local businesses and create jobs, and federal and think tank grants to support renewable energy, tech, and innovation.
“The idea is to make it as easy as possible for small businesses to locate the support they need to grow,” McCambry says. “Whether you’re a mom and pop shop or a good-sized startup, you may be doing something that one of these agencies wants to promote for the sake of the public good.”
McCambry notes that most of the grants which have so far been located and placed in the Novae Grants database are intended for small businesses with 6-100 employees, though some are also intended for larger businesses and sole proprietor startups.
“We know that local businesses make us more secure,” McCambry told me in our interview, “and we know that innovation often comes from startups. There are a lot of organizations that recognize this and offer funding to support these missions. But not many people know how to find these grants, and many assume they won’t qualify because they aren’t in some specialized public service role. Our mission is to change that and bring this money into our communities.”
The Novae Grants search engine is now available at novaemoney.com. In addition to grants, Novae also helps companies build business credit, provides access to traditional business funding, and offers businesses the ability to provide consumer financing for their high-ticket offerings.
Novae and CEO McCambry’s mission to increase access to financing for businesses and customers in underserved communities has helped the company and its CEO to earn numerous awards and distinctions in recent years. Novae has been included on the Inc 5000 list of the 5000 fastest-growing businesses in America for two years running, while McCambry was recently named Innovator of the Year at the annual Bank Customer Experience Summit and received an Outstanding Leadership Award at Money2.0 this Spring.
Cullen/Frost announces election of Joseph A. Pierce
Joseph A. Pierce has been elected to the board of directors of Cullen/Frost Bankers, Inc. He has joined the board’s Corporate Governance and Nominating, Compensation and Benefits, and Technology committees.
Cullen/Frost Chairman and CEO Phil Green said, “(Pierce’s) legal, financial services and marketing expertise will be very useful as we pursue our organic growth strategy, and he is a great match for the Frost philosophy and our core values of integrity, caring and excellence.”
Headquartered in San Antonio, Cullen/Frost Bankers, Inc. is a financial holding company with $51.8 billion in assets as of June 30, 2022. Founded in 1868, Frost has helped clients with their financial needs for three centuries.
Pierce is the senior vice president and general counsel of AMB Sports and Entertainment at The Blank Family of Businesses. In that role, he counsels and advises across all areas of the organization, including the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta United and the PGA Tour Superstores. Previously Pierce held positions including senior vice president and chief legal officer at Hornets Sports and Entertainment, overseeing legal and business administration for the Charlotte Hornets of the National Basketball Association. He has also served as senior vice president and associate general counsel of global marketing and corporate affairs at Bank of America, Comcast Sports Television Group, and Jacksonville Jaguars Ltd.
Pierce holds a Bachelor of Science degree in finance from Georgetown University, and dual Juris Doctor and Master of Business Administration degrees from the Wharton School of Business and University of Pennsylvania Law School.
While he lives in Atlanta, he grew up in San Antonio and is very familiar with Frost.
“My family banked with Frost, and that’s how I knew of the bank’s customer service and the impact of Frost family in the community,” Pierce said.
In a 2018 NBA article on Pierce, he told the story about one of his track teammates, Ray Humphrey, who was a role model for him in juggling athletics and getting a law degree at the same time. Pierce said he used many of his experiences as a collegiate athlete to help him in his career and education.
He also shared in that same article that three of his four grandparents had doctorate degrees, which is not typical in many families but unusual in African-American families at that time. They all taught at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and were influential role models in his life.
“Growing up, I saw the impact of what education was able to do for them in their own lives, but more importantly, I saw the impact they could make with their own students that they taught. Going through life and meeting people that were students of my grandparents was great to see and really showed a lesson that it’s important to give back and make sure you do what you can to help other people grow,” Pierce said in the NBA article.
City of San Antonio to Launch $500,000 Capacity Building & Bonding Assistance Program to Grow Local Small Businesses
In the ongoing effort to support local small businesses, this week the City of San Antonio Economic Development Department, and the San Antonio Economic Development Corporation (SAEDC) launched the Capacity Building & Bonding Assistance Program administered in partnership with Alamo Surety Bonds.
This program will provide surety and bond assistance to eligible local small, minority, and woman-owned businesses seeking City construction contracts. This assistance is designed to establish, enhance, and increase the program participant’s bonding capabilities and capacity, which should lead to an increase in the number and size of City construction contracts they are both bidding on and awarded.
Eligible program participants will be provided a tailored needs assessment that includes educational, technical, and financial literacy components for success. In addition, program participants will be provided one-on-one bonding counseling, project support if awarded a City contract, and access to a $500,000 revolving pool of funds for those in need of assistance to cover costs related to City bonding requirements in order to bid on a City solicitation.
For more information on how to apply for the City of San Antonio Capacity Building & Bonding Assistance Program, visit www.sanantonio.gov/edd or call program administrators, Alamo Surety Bonds, at (210) 930-5550 or email at Jim@alamobonds.com.
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