As the country’s self-proclaimed oldest and largest trade group for Black businesses, the National Business League has announced new optimistic growth plans for the future that include building up one million Black businesses by the year 2025, according to Black Enterprise.
After celebrating their 120th anniversary recently, the D.C.-based business advocacy group — founded by famous American educator Booker T. Washington — has recognized the importance of uplifting Black-led businesses during this time, Stupid Dope reports and is actively working to expand their reach.
“Booker T. Washington’s vision is more relevant today than it was 120 years ago, as a new generation of unapologetic Black leadership takes the helm,” said NBL President and CEO Ken L. Harris, Ph.D., in a press statement. “The revolution won’t be televised; it shall be digitized.”
According to Black Enterprise, the organization has developed a plan that includes taking their membership drive from 120,000 people to over 1 million business owners and professionals over the next five years starting in January 2021.
In light of its annual celebration, the organization is now also poised to help integrate the nation’s 2.6 million Black businesses into the global marketplace through the use of technology, according to a press release, stating that Black-owned businesses generate up to $150 billion in annual revenue in the U.S. while also supporting 3.56 million jobs here.
Since COVID-19 has ushered many companies and organizations into a new digitized-era, it’s helped pillars like the National Business League be a resource for businesses to lean on, just as Washington envisioned.
“Booker T. Washington’s vision was that a significant number of our people would train for, and become, captains of industry, employing millions during this time of global economic development,” said Washington’s great-grandson, Marshall Washington-Cabiness Abuwi, Ph.D. in a press statement.
Washington was widely known for his ability to create financial and political connections between the Black community and white corporate figures, a press release states.
His close associate, Andrew Carnegie, even helped him establish a group of corporate leaders to help his organization cultivate a space to build Black businesses in America.
“Today, the NBL has established itself as a corporate powerhouse with more than 125 Fortune 500 companies, public and private partnerships, including the likes of Amazon, AMEX, Comcast, Comerica Bank, FIAT Chrysler, Ford, GM, Google, and Toyota, as the organization further advocates for economic equity and inclusion of Black businesses nationwide,” said NBL Board Chairman Thomas W. Dortch, Jr., in a statement.
As it continues to align itself with Washington’s values, the National Business League remains a vital source for business support and structure for Black-owned businesses across the nation.