The Business Corner: Juneteenth is an economic opportunity for small businesses

by | Jun 17, 2022

In this special edition of The Business Corner, we are going to discuss Juneteenth National Independence Day (June 19), the federal holiday celebrating the emancipation of enslaved Black Americans.

I think about the topic of economic justice a lot.

As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said “What good is having the right to sit at a lunch counter if you can’t afford to buy a hamburger.”

This holiday brings another opportunity for minority-owned businesses to connect with the community and increase sales. Likewise, it gives larger corporations located in the Philadelphia region an opportunity to invest in minority-owned small businesses.

Large Corporations

It’s great to see companies making Juneteenth a paid company holiday, including Fortune 500 firms such as Allstate, Apple, Instacart, Lyft, Nike, Peloton, Starbucks, Twitter, and Zillow.

Nonprofit institutions including the University of Pennsylvania are doing the same thing.

Embracing the holiday as a company also has other impacts that can positively affect the bottom line. These include increasing the diversity of talent in the hiring pool and showing that your brand is aligned with stated values. In addition, many studies have shown that companies with more diversity make better decisions, which leads to better financial results.

Recognizing the importance of Juneteenth in the history of the United States is vitally important, and a great time to further education and celebrate.

This occasion brings about the opportunity to improve communications amongst team members and with the community your business serves. It is a chance to become more active in developing programs that support local events, entrepreneur training programs, and hiring for more diverse talent – including leadership.

Companies should encourage doing business with minority-owned small businesses, participation in local Juneteenth events, as well as cultural education at locations such as the African American Museum in Philadelphia, or the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C.

Small Businesses

For minority-owned small businesses, there is a significant economic opportunity that goes along with the Juneteenth holiday. Specifically, it is a great time to utilize social media to remind customers and supporters that you are open and ready to provide the product or service that fulfills their needs.

There are a number of events celebrating Juneteenth and each provides an opportunity to spread the word about your business. This includes the Juneteenth Block Party at the African American Museum in Philadelphia, at 701 Arch Street. The event is between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Another event is the Black Music City: Juneteenth Celebration, held at World Café Live Philadelphia, 3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 between 1 and 5 p.m. There are events in other locations throughout Philadelphia, including Germantown and West Philadelphia.

Hopefully, these tips will help you as you think about Juneteenth, economic justice, and maximizing opportunities to reach your potential.

Teresa M. Lundy is the principal and founder of TML Communications, the award-winning strategic public relations, crisis communications, and community engagement firm serving corporations, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies. Follow Teresa on Twitter @TeresaMLundy.

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