Every February, we as a nation commemorate Black History Month. It’s a time to recognize the struggle for freedom and equal opportunity Black Americans have long faced and continue to fight. It is also a time to celebrate the achievements of Black Americans throughout history and today.
History of Black History Month
The official celebration of Black History in February dates back to 1926. According to the Library of Congress, the tradition began when Dr. Carter G. Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in 1915 and introduced what was then called Negro History Week in 1926. He chose February because the month included the birthdays of both President Abraham Lincoln and the abolitionist, writer, and statesman Frederick Douglass. In 1976, the association, now called the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, expanded the occasion to Black History Month. In 1986, Congress passed a law that made the occasion an official “annual public and private salute to Black History.”
Challenges Black Entrepreneurs Face
According to the Small Business Association, there are 2.5 million veteran-owned small businesses in the United States. Of those 2.5 million small businesses, Black entrepreneurs and small business owners were majority owners in nearly 11 percent of firms. Roughly speaking, that means there are around 270,000 Black-owned, veteran-owned small businesses in the United States.
Black entrepreneurs and small business owners face disproportionate challenges, however, when it comes to operating a business. According to SCORE, lack of capital and cash flow are among the biggest challenges. At Bunker Labs, we are committed to supporting Black military-connected entrepreneurs and small business owners through our community programs, and we strive to provide resources that help mitigate these barriers.
How You Can Support Black-Owned Businesses
With that in mind, we invite you to recognize Black History Month with us this month and to take actions that actively foster equity and inclusion.
To highlight the Black entrepreneurs and small business owners in our current Veterans in Residence cohort, we’ve curated a list of companies and products. We invite you to explore and support these Black-owned businesses.
Veterans in Residence
Veterans in Residence is a partnership of WeWork and Bunker Labs, is an incubator and leadership program that provides entrepreneurial community, business connections, and coworking space to help military veteran and military family members launch and grow their businesses.