OP-ED: Honoring Black-Owned Business Month

August is National Black-Owned Business Month, a time to celebrate and uplift Black-owned businesses across Wisconsin and honor the innumerable contributions they make to our local communities each and every day – and if there’s one thing we can all agree on in the Badger State, it’s that Wisconsinites value our local small businesses.

We can also agree that the local businesses lining our Main Streets – and serving as the backbone of so many communities – have been some of the hardest hit as the COVID-19 pandemic swept through our communities over the last two years.

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen Wisconsinites, especially BIPOC business owners in the state, working harder than ever with not nearly enough to show for it.

In a press event last year, Gov. Tony Evers cited that 53% of Black business owners reported revenue drops of 50% or more during the pandemic, compared to just 37% of non-BIPOC identifying business owners.

That’s why Gov. Evers made a plan to bridge the gap, and in October 2021 allocated $75 million to help BIPOC-owned businesses in Wisconsin recover from the pandemic and get back on track into a thriving Badger State economy.

In March 2022, Gov. Evers announced in a speech at Wisconsin’s African American Chamber of Commerce that he is expanding that program to now be $86 million.

This Black-owned business month, we all can support our local BIPOC-owned businesses by being intentional. In addition to demanding our elected officials create a more equitable state, you can check out this list of Black-owned businesses to support in Wisconsin, organized by region: https://www.travelwisconsin.com/stories/post/wisconsin-black-owned-businesses/.

# # #

A Better Wisconsin Together is a state-based research and communications hub for progressives and is an affiliate of ProgressNow.