Attendees at the Black Think Executive Roundtable held during the Minority Business and Leadership Symposium in Charlotte on Feb. 28, 2019. Photo: Kevin Douglas

The nation’s 2.6 million Black-owned businesses generate $150 billion in annual revenue and employ 3.56 million people, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Survey of Business Owners. A new report released by the National Black MBA Association highlighted common challenges facing entrepreneurs and outlined solutions in four key areas: scalability, capacity building, mentorship and inclusive economic development.

The eight-page report resulted from the Black Think Executive Roundtable held in February during the Minority Business and Leadership Symposium — one of the off-the-court events during the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) basketball tournament.

Charlotte has been touted as a premier location for local businesses, and although Forbes recently ranked Charlotte as the sixth-best metro area where African Americans are doing the best economically, some minority business owners still point to systemic barriers and other roadblocks hindering entrepreneurial expansion.

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Toya Everett, president of Charlotte’s Black MBA Association, said finding solutions will improve the quality of life and business for Black entrepreneurs.

“We need to spend just as much time, if not more time, working on solutions and collaboration as we do conversing about problems businesses face,” added Everett, who also serves as vice president of risk management and community engagement at D.A. Everett Construction Group.

More than 80 business leaders attended the Black Think Executive Roundtable. Photo: Kevin Douglas

More than 80 participants presented solutions such as

  • understanding the difference between scaling a business and growing a business
  • creating a growth plan that includes an exit strategy and succession
  • seeking out opportunities for intergenerational mentorship with those who are both older and younger
  • engaging with government policymakers to drive reforms

“We have to learn how to show up and build relationships, have an executive presence, understand our value and communicate that to the buyers,” Everett said.