"Voices: Black Professionals need spaces to connect and collaborate" | February 15, 2023
"In the early to mid 20th century, Springfield had a thriving Black entrepreneurial presence. There were businesses that covered a variety of industries, from laundry services to hotels, most of which were located on the Southwest quadrant of the city. Predatory actions such as redlining, disruptive interstate development and discriminatory practices from private and public entities likely contributed to where we are today.
If Black households held a share of the national wealth in proportion to their share of the U.S. population, it would amount to $12.68 trillion, rather than the current total of $2.54 trillion. The racial wealth gap, therefore, is $10.14 trillion, according to the Brookings Institute. Statistics show how wide and persistent inequities in wealth and access to capital cause disparities in small business ownership; Black Americans own fewer than 2 percent of small businesses nationally.
Camille Hall, Director of the Young Black Professionals and Businesses of Springfield and a business services specialist for the Dayton Metro Library.
The Department of the Treasury states that wealth is essential for economic security, which is directly connected to wellbeing. Wealth is also a resource households can draw from in times of economic hardship. Moreover, wealth is necessary for individual economic mobility and growth of the economy as a whole. Wealth gives households the ability to pursue an education, take employment or investment risks, move to new neighborhoods, buy a home, and start a business. The ability to take these risks and to be resilient to economic shocks has positive spillovers to the entire economy.
Given the impact that small businesses have on the broader American economy, it’s critical to create a healthy environment for small businesses to operate. The Young Black Professionals and Businesses of Springfield (YBPBS) creates a space and a platform for Black professionals and business owners within the region of Springfield, Ohio to connect socially and professionally.
Since 2019, YBPBS has released four editions of our business directory and have created an interactive digital map of brick-and-mortar businesses in our service area. During the summer months, YBPBS also operates the Gammon Farmers Market. It is designed to empower minority entrepreneurs, increase access to fresh produce on the southside of Springfield, and serve as a safe space for cultural expression. We felt it important to center the market around the Gammon House Underground Railroad Historical landmark due to its significance to the history of our community. The Gammons were free people of color who in 1850 built a home that served as a safe house as part of the Underground Railroad.
The directory features more than 40 Black-owned businesses in Springfield and Clark County. We hold networking events throughout the year in collaboration with local businesses and organizations. The directory, along with upcoming events, can be accessed through our website at ybpbs.com."
Read The Dayton Daily News article here.
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