Updated: Feb 23
What better month than Black History Month to celebrate the significant black Entrepreneurs and business owners of our predecessors! The black community has had to undergo so many hurdles to be seen and acknowledged and I truly believe that it is through those hardships, we have had to learn to create million-dollar businesses and ownership. The global pandemic has birthed an overwhelming amount of new business owners and it truly is something to be proud of.
One of the largest achievements within black history that are hardly spoken about is the rise of what is now known as “Black Wall Street”. Black Wall Street was a town bought by an African American in the 20th Century, called OW Gurley. Mr. Gurley made a grocery store, train lines, houses, and a bank for the black community. The reason why this was such a huge achievement is due to the fact that one black man was able to create an entire economical hub for African Americans, it also goes back to this idea of how resilient we are as a race and have become able to turn our difficult times into triumphant ones.
Another strong entrepreneurial figure is Madam C.J. Walker. Madam C.J. Walker, originally known as Sarah Breedlove built a factory, a hair and manicure salon, and another training school in Indianapolis by 1910, the nation's biggest inland manufacturing center. Within a year of her arrival in Indianapolis and business success, Walker grabbed national attention in the black press when she donated $1,000 to the "colored" YMCA. However, her life was not an easy road. In an extract taken from an article written about her life, the powerful pioneer spoke of her humble beginnings:
“I am a woman who came from the cotton fields of the South. From there I was promoted to the washtub. From there I was promoted to the cook kitchen. And from there I promoted myself into the business of manufacturing hair goods and preparations….I have built my own factory on my own ground.”
Nxt Level Growth was built on the same values as Mr. Gurley and Madam CJ Walker, through hard work and resilience. With Amber Benjamin being the founder of Nxt Level Growth, she is also one of the first female business owners in her family.
Amber has made it her mission to prepare individuals and businesses to reach their highest level professionally. Again, having black-owned businesses such as Nxt Level Growth is so important because it is giving back to the community and creating opportunities in the job market for other black and brown professionals. So during the month of February, a time where we come together to celebrate those who have created monumental paths for African Americans and those around the world, lets spread their stories and bring awareness to all the wonderful things they have done. Happy Black History Month!