BACKGROUND: A Personal and Professional Commitment to Black Business
Yolanda and I are incredibly excited to officially and formally launch the Revive Black Business Network. We started this process over 20 years ago with the launching of our first business together. After we both invested 10 years in advertising, research, marketing and facilitation in the media industry, we decided to venture out on our own. We had both worked in major markets and small communities across the country consulting with hundreds of large and emerging businesses.
(The Art of Giving, our first business together)
After the experience of launching The Art of Giving, a small 400 sq foot specialty retail store, a long-time dream of Yolanda’s, we jointly made a commitment to increase our spending with Black owned businesses and to assist other entrepreneurs with launching, growing and scaling their businesses. It has been an amazing journey.
When we moved to Omaha 22 years ago, we decided to take the whole thing to a new level with our own Black Business Challenge and Exchange. The Challenge was to increase the amount we spend personally and professionally with Black businesses each year. The Exchange was to encourage Black businesses to do business with each other. 2022 marks 20 years since we started the Challenge and Exchange.
(Revive Center at 24th and Lake)
Looking back, the Challenge and Exchange have provided an excellent foundation for us personally and professionally to help produce measurable outcomes and results. We have significantly increased the amount we spend with Black businesses and it feels great to see those businesses supporting each other as well.
Over the years, we launched our own businesses and have always incorporated promoting other Black entrepreneurs through SMB Enterprises, Revive Omaha Magazine, Revive Black Business Luncheon, North Omaha Guide, Revive Black Business Guide & Directory, Revive Center and now the Carver Legacy Center. Each business evolved from the previous venture. As we learned more about the needs of Black businesses, we created additional platforms and opportunities. What is most exciting is the number of businesses that we’ve seen launched and expanded in Omaha.
We have started and stopped the process of formalizing the Revive Black Business Network a number of times going all the way back to 2013. We also have amazing partnerships that have developed over the years on the local and national level and we look forward to sharing more about how we are collaborating to bring you even more opportunities. Over the past nine years, 350+ businesses have participated in some way with our luncheons, summits, events or expos.
Friends like George Fraser, CEO of FraserNetwork, PowerNetworking and the Black Business Hall of Fame, and Dr. Pamela Jolly, CEO of Torch Enterprises, have encouraged us to step out and keep building and also agreed to make special offers available to our members. Dr. Randal Pinkett, Tawanna Black and other entrepreneurs will also partner with the Black Business Network and continue to support community work in Omaha and across the country.
We explored forming a chamber and had conversations with national groups. We decided finally to launch a Business Network based on our own experiences with the opportunity to partner with other business chambers as we move forward. So, here we go!
Please note. We want to see all people successful. We want to see white residents and people of color all thriving. Our intent is to see African-American businesses thriving just like others. This will make the Black community stronger and therefore, our towns, cities, regions, states and our nation will be stronger. In Omaha, studies show that $4 billion of economic activity will be added to the region when all racial and ethnic groups have equal access and the equitable opportunities. We can all win. That doesn’t mean we all have the same things, but it means we have enough to support our families, meet our needs and walk in our own purpose!