By Al Lindsey
Calling itself America’s oldest and largest trade group for Black businesses, the National Business League has aggressive growth plans for the future.
The Washington, D.C.-based business advocacy group aims to boost its current membership from 120,000 to over one million black business owners and professionals in the next five years. It aims to achieve that by launching a national membership drive through its 365 local league chapters starting in January 2021.
Dr. Kenneth Harris, the NBL’s president and CEO, said the organization plans to use its robust digital platform, growing social media apparatus, and significant strategic partnerships throughout the country within the public and private sectors to help reach the national goal.
The membership strategy comes as the NBL just celebrated its 120th anniversary. The group was founded on August 23, 1900, by the iconic Booker T. Washington.
With the special occasion come and gone, the NBL reports it is poised to streamline the integration of the nation’s 2.6 million Black businesses into the global marketplace using technology. It proclaims Black-owned businesses generate $150 billion in annual revenue in the United States while supporting 3.56 million jobs here. This advanced shift into the digital age will be absolutely critical in the post-COVID-19 era, Harris said in a news release.
“Booker T. Washington’s vision is more relevant today than it was 120 years ago, as a new generation of unapologetic Black leadership takes the helm,” he said. “The revolution won’t be televised; it shall be digitized.”
In line with its mission, here are some collaborative programs that the NBL is hosting or taking part in to advance Black businesses:
- The NBL is backing Med Week 2020, a virtual event led by the National Minority Business Development Agency that runs from Sept. 13-19. Get more details about the event here.
- As part of its newly formed partnership with Comerica Bank, the NBL will host a Black Capital Access Program Monthly COVID-19 Economic Recovery Webinar Series. The event will help entrepreneurs gain tips and resources on how to become bankable and investable from financial services experts. The first virtual seminar will occur Sept. 17. For more information, visit here.
- The NBL begins its annual National Black Supplier Conference on Wednesday, November 18, 2020. This year will mark the NBL’s first virtual national conference. It will include panel discussions, workshops, and matchmaking with over 100 corporations looking to provide contracting and procurement opportunities for Black businesses in America and globally. The event is free to all Black businesses affected by COVID-19. The event will be presented by American Express, General Motors, Comerica Bank, Fiat Chrysler, DTE Energy, Ford, MPS Group, and Toyota.