‘Black Economic Freedom Movement’ to digitize Black-owned businesses

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) – The National Business League is partnering with Tuskegee University and American Express to bring one million black-owned businesses into the digital marketplace by the year 2028.

The NBL says it wants to see all of the country’s 3.2 million Black-owned businesses thrive. It believes bringing as many of them into the digital age as possible will help fulfill that vision.

“As we pivot toward a post-pandemic economy, on the cusp of extreme Black racial injustice, the National Business League has jumped with both feet into the digital age. For Black businesses globally, the revolution won’t be televised; it shall be digitized,” said Dr. Ken Harris, the NBL’s president and CEO.

Industry research has shown that 40% of Black-owned businesses permanently closed their doors or were in dire condition during the COVID pandemic. A key factor was the inability to access technology and keep up with consumer demands for online services.

Black business owners also face insurmountable economic, systematic, and institutional barriers that have historically plagued their growth and development.

So Tuesday, the National Business League is announcing the “Black Economic Freedom Movement” to transition one million Black-owned businesses into the digital economy in the next five years. The process will start with a $1.3 million newly designed organizational technology platform that has been developed to serve as a catalyst for the digital transformation and empowerment of Black-owned businesses.

“When Tuskegee Founder Booker T. Washington envisioned the National Business League, he wanted to create opportunities for economic empowerment for Black businesses through collaboration,” said Dr. Charlotte P. Morris, president of Tuskegee University. “We are honored to be a part of an anniversary celebration marking 122 impactful years while partnering with American Express to ensure that our community has the tools to advance in an ever-changing digital environment.”

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The campaign will kick off with the NBL’s regional offices in Detroit, Atlanta and Los Angeles and the national headquarters in Washington, D.C., then move to the NBL’s largest local chapters in cities, historic towns, and settlements with the highest concentration of Black-owned businesses.

The National Business League is celebrating its 122nd anniversary. Booker T. Washington founded the organization in 1900.

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