Jack Standokes, 

Business Disrupter

Was tired of the negative talk regarding the African American community. He watched video clips of police brutality and read the hateful comments on social media. Hearing claims over and over again that his community doesn’t support one another; “they only kill each other.”  Jack felt compelled to do something; Instead of grabbing a protest sign, the 38-year-old decided to start a network, one that connected businesses within the black community.

A Stronger Black Community

Police brutality and hateful comments inspired Jack to bring the African American community together to be more supportive of one another and circulate the “African American” dollar within the community for more than six hours. Standokes notes that the typical dollar spent within the African American community merely circulates briefly; compared with the white community, where it circulates for 18 days, or 10 days within Hispanic communities. Jack wanted to offer the support that the community desperately needed, one which builds bridges between black-owned business and consumers. He calls his network, the Black Owned Business Portal. 

African Americans certainly have an entrepreneurial spirit as we  are more likely to start a business relative to other racial groups. But, limited access to resources (e.g., capital, clientele, etc.), increase our businesses’ likelihood to close its doors.  Research suggests that communities’ generational economic empowerment is linked to entrepreneurial success. Therefore, if we are serious about improving our communities, improving our schools, providing jobs (black businesses are the 2nd highest employer of African Americans after the government), we must advance and strengthen black-owned businesses.

Mission

The mission of the Black Business Portal Verified Business Platform, a subsidiary of the Black Business Portal, is to provide a platform and avenue for Black Owned Businesses to gain visibility, expand their customer bases, gain brand recognition, and build a sense of community among our businesses, consumers and the areas in which we serve. The Black Business Portal serves as a channel to connect Black Business Owners in strategic, significant, and worthwhile means. As we grow, and as more and more of our members are utilizing the portal as a means to identify the providers of specific products and services, we are being made aware of the issues that consumers and businesses alike are being faced with in the process. In response to these concerns as well as our efforts to encourage the legitimization, and growth of Black Owned Businesses, and the provision of quality customer service and relationships, we will be providing a business verification opportunity.

In 2015, The Nielsen Company released “The State of the African American Consumer”, a groundbreaking report projecting African Americans buying power at 1.1 Trillion dollars annually. If the African Americans’ purchasing power equated to a country’s GDP, we would be the 16th largest country in the world!  Black consumers have more economic power than we realize. It is important to note that the 1.1 Trillion figure may not necessarily be liquid cash as there may be credit cards and loans to make certain purchases.  Spending power increases and/or decreases with one’s income. As a collective, there is enormous potential for black consumers to leverage economic power by way of supporting black owned businesses to foster community economic development.

Vision

This opportunity will help consumers identify legitimate businesses within the portal, as well as provide business owners with promotional and growth opportunities. Membership in the Black Business Portal Verified Business Platform will require applicants to complete a three part application process. Applicants must submit the application packet with supporting documentation/photos, the application packet will be reviewed by the Black Business Portal team of jurors, then approved (verified) applicants will be notified and must pay by the specified deadline. Approved (verified business will then have the opportunity to become VIP Vendor Club members.

Does A Dollar Spent In The Black Community Really Stay There For Only Six Hours?

Art collectors attend an opening at the Overdue Recognition Art Gallery in Bowie, Md., which represents about 100 African-American artists and was co-founded in 2004 by Jackie and Derrick Thompson. The gallery is one of 2.6 million black or African American-owned companies, which have increased nationally 34.5 percent, up from 1.9 million between 2007 and 2012.

Photo: Joe Bellard.