Sofia Hernandez is TikTok’s Global Head of Business Marketing and the executive sponsor of TikTok’s Support Black Businesses initiative, which aims to help Black entrepreneurs grow their business and network with other entrepreneurs. The program was launched two years ago and the most recent cohort comprised of 90% women owned businesses across categories including Retail, Food & Beverage, and Health & Wellness.
Twenty percent of Black Americans launch their own business every year, but only 4% of Black-owned businesses are likely to survive the startup phase. This opportunity gap is largely the result of the systems and structures that have disadvantaged people of color from the building blocks of business, including access to capital, formal networks and mentorship. This is why we launched Support Black Businesses, an initiative that aims to give Black small business owners critical skills and resources, introduce them to other business-owners, and help them connect with their communities and thrive. Annya Brown, the owner of Annie’s Natural Essentials told us, “The best part of the program was interacting with and getting to know the other participants and learning about what they do. It was inspiring and gave us a strong sense of community as we were able to openly discuss our challenges as Black small business owners.”
Growing up in a predominantly Mexican immigrant community, small businesses were how several families got their footing while establishing roots. Whether it was the local tortilleria, the fruit vendor on the corner or the bodega around the block, these businesses were staples of the community and a way for people to express their talents, but more importantly, they were crucial to the livelihood of these families. It’s why our Support Black Business initiative is so near and dear to my heart.
Last year, in partnership with SeeHer, we launched the second cohort of Support Black Businesses. The group included more than 40 entrepreneurs across every industry — from a cookie company in Minnesota to a cosmetics startup in Los Angeles. The group meets monthly in virtual rooms where they come together and seek advice from people who are going through the highs and lows of being a small business owner. We’ve also connected entrepreneurs with black creators such as @thefriendshipexpert, @thespeckledbrownie, and @keenyakelly to better understand best practices in making TikToks that will resonate with consumers and in turn help their businesses thrive. As new challenges arise, these entrepreneurs are better prepared to succeed because they have a community standing with them.
The best way to support these businesses is to buy! Our online Hub features the businesses that have participated in the Support Black Business cohorts to date and you can search for #SupportBlack on TikTok and discover your next favorite small business.
Annya Brown- Natural Annie Essentials: https://www.tiktok.com/@naturalannieessentials