For Black Businesses, Thinking Beyond Small Business Saturday

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November 24, 2012 ‐ By

President Barack Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia shopping at an Arlington bookstore today. Rex Features via AP Images

With the nation’s sentiment turning somewhat sour about Black Friday (many complained that store openings on Thanksgiving night intruded on the family gatherings for both shoppers and workers) the time was right this year for Small Business Saturday. Add to that the focus on small businesses — supporting them was a big talking point during the presidential election — and you have buzz for the day unlike any that’s likely been experienced in the past.

New York’s Mayor Bloomberg announced today that a matching grant program worth $5.5 million will be available for small businesses impacted by Hurricane Sandy. A total of more than $45 million in loans and other financial assistance will also help.

President Barack Obama and the rest of the White House has been crowing about Small Business Saturday on Twitter today. The President and the First Daughters Sasha and Malia were out shopping today at a local Arlington bookstore (he bought 15 children’s books, according to Reuters) to support the day.

And American Express — which founded Small Business Saturday in 2010 — and Small Business Administration Administrator Karen Mills were on the Today show yesterday talking up the opportunity to shop at local businesses. (Video below.)

Widely reported numbers say that small businesses created two out of three jobs in this country over the past 20 years. American Express founded the day three years ago and says more than 100 million people came out last year.

For black businesses, Small Business Saturday could be just the thing to jump start businesses. Pointing out the many difficulty that black retailers have — from the troubles with financing, lack of a strong network, or old-fashioned racism — The Huffington Post’s Jessica Cumberbatch Anderson talks with entrepreneurs who are trying to capitalize on the special day and all of the digital avenues available to small business owners nowadays.

“It drives traffic both to our Internet business and to our brick-and-mortar business,” Jamyla Bennu, owner of Baltimore’s Oyin Handmade, told the website.

The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in the black community (“the number of black-owned businesses in the U.S. increasing by 60.5 percent between 2002 and 2007,” HuffPo quotes the Census Bureau’s latest Survey of Business Owners), but the means to get businesses off the ground or stay afloat aren’t always there.

The Grio provides a list of small black-owned businesses that you can try out for Small Business Saturday and beyond. Did you shop at a black-owned business today?

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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