10 Charlotte stories to kick off National Black Business Month

August is National Black Business Month, an opportunity to recognize and support Black-owned businesses while focusing attention on the needs of Black entrepreneurs.

Here are 10 Charlotte business stories to help you kick off the month:

National Black MBA Association offers industry insights in Black Think Roundtable report

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.

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

Entrepreneur Desmond Wiggan is charging toward the future with BatteryXchange

As an entrepreneur, Desmond Wiggan relies heavily on his cellphone. Nowadays, who doesn’t? That’s why a dying battery is a no-go. Wiggan and his co-founder Aubrey Yeboah developed a prototype for BatteryXchange, a product and platform that allows cellphone users to rent portable batteries.


Ms. Elsie’s Caribbean B&B: A tropical getaway tucked in the Charlotte suburbs

Charlotteans may know the story behind the Black-owned bed-and-breakfast that sits on almost two acres in the Sherwood Forest neighborhood near Cotswold. But, with the number of people moving to Charlotte each day, it’s worth a re-introduction.

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Ms. Elsie’s Caribbean B&B

Single in the Queen City? RBL dating app looks to match Black singles

Joseph Dixon saw a need in the Black dating scene — access. Busy singles needed a space specifically curated to meet other eligible Black singles. In 2013, he launched Charlotte-based RealBlackLove Inc., an online dating site for African American singles. The accompanying RBL dating app currently has close to 200,000 users.


The salt room at this Matthews spa is a busy person’s dream

After 28 years in corporate America, Angela Strother walked away from the “rat race” in 2016 to focus on self-care. Thinking about her next chapter, the former engineer knew she wanted something unlike the world she left. It happened a little over a year later when she opened a franchise location of Jon’Ric International Massage & Wellness Center.

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Salt room at Jon’Ric International Massage & Wellness Center in Matthews.

Grab a sweet treat at these 3 Black-owned franchises in Charlotte

Three Black-owned franchises that have found success in their niche markets are Smallcakes Cupcakery in Huntersville, Popbar in NoDa and Famous Toastery in Uptown. These establishments are garnering attention and satisfying stomachs every day. Check them out.


Up close with Cathay Dawkins, leader in Charlotte’s Black business ecosystem

Cathay Dawkins is the founder of Black Business Owners of Charlotte, a community of local entrepreneurs and supporters using social capital to drive economic empowerment. You’ve probably heard of the group’s most notable events, Black Food Truck Friday and Charlotte Black Restaurant Week.


Rook and King is the fashion accessory your lapel has been missing

When Kimpton Tryon Park unveiled its ‘Stay Human Project,’ the goal was to transform Room 801 into a unique activation that paid homage to the Queen City. Along with the “royal treatment” amenities, room guests are gifted custom-made crown lapel pins created by Rook and King founder, Jeremiah Allen. The Johnson C. Smith University alum opened up about Rook and King, style and advice to entrepreneurs.

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Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton owns multiple Rook and King lapel pins, including the Hamsa Hand. Photo courtesy of Rook and King

Charlotte interior designer opens vintage furniture boutique

Ariene Bethea’s popular interior design business, Dress My Room, now has a brick-and-mortar location in Charlotte’s Oakhurst neighborhood. She previously had shops in the NoDa and Elizabeth neighborhoods, but the new location for her vintage furniture shop, Dressing Rooms Interiors Studio, is ideal. The chiropractic business next door is owned by her husband, Daren.


The pop-up, podcast and subscription service adding diversity to Charlotte’s literary landscape

Charlotte was home to North Carolina’s first African American public library, the Brevard Street Library. What began with the establishment of the Brevard Street Library, continues with new offerings like Shelves Bookstore, MasterMind Podcast and Thee Lit House — each designed for today’s more diverse, mobile audience.


BONUS: 8 Charlotte couple-preneurs share how they make it work

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