In 2004, August was established as National Black Business Month. It is a time for policy makers, venture capitalists and residents to focus on fostering a welcoming environment where black-owned businesses can prosper. It is also a call to action for those within the black business community to support one another.
In an effort to create an inclusive community for all people, Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel established OneMacomb. One of OneMacomb’s key objectives is to strengthen the county’s economy. This is accomplished by focusing on a variety of approaches to advance economic inclusion.
For example, we are hosting job fairs specifically geared toward our county’s diverse populations. Recently, OneMacomb met with the Detroit HBCU Network and members of the new Alpha Kappa Alpha Macomb Chapter to discuss matters of mutual economic interest. We are working together to host a job fair at our Macomb County Family Resource Center on Saturday, Sept. 17.
Other strategies we are implementing to create a welcoming and inclusive county consist of sending our job postings to our African-American, ethnic and cultural business organizations and meeting regularly with African-American community leaders to connect them to resources in the county that help their businesses advance. Also, at our Macomb Business Awards, we recognize businesses that are cultivating an environment where diversity and inclusion are valued, and we are proud to promote our Model of OneMacomb award.
Our Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development also specializes in helping all types of businesses grow. Their staff has extensive knowledge about available incentives and alternative financing programs that may be able to assist eligible businesses in gaining access to capital and taking advantage of new opportunities such as job training, energy efficiency and façade improvement programs.
Another way to help black-owned businesses succeed in Macomb County is through patronage. There are 677 minority-owned businesses in Macomb County. According to Crain’s Detroit Business 2014 Book of Lists, the top black-owned businesses in the county are St. Clair Shores-based Prestige Automotive LLC and Eastpointe-based Bill Perkins Automotive Group and metal processing corporation SET Enterprises Inc. in Warren.
This month, challenge yourself to shop small, shop local and discover a new business. By redirecting a small portion of your spending, it could be a beneficial boost to Macomb County’s black entrepreneurial system.
Pam Lavers is the deputy county executive for Macomb County and leads the OneMacomb initiative.