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UPDATED: 9:30 a.m. ET., Nov. 27

The power of the consumer is probably never more visible than during the holiday season.

And for Black people, their collective spending power has probably never been more valuable than it is today. This means that now more than ever, the need for Black patronage at our businesses and establishments is crucial.

Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have been incubators of young Black business minds for decades. And even though there have been significant social and economic barriers placed on Black business owners throughout history, HBCUs have still managed to produce countless successful entrepreneurs both on a national and local scale.

These business leaders have become vital to the Black economy and likely still use some of the same lessons that they learned from their HBCUs to fuel their success today.

“My HBCU experience instilled confidence within me to know I was on the same level as my counterparts that graduated from household name universities.” Said Cornell C. Conaway, a graduate of Bowie State University in an interview with Forbes. Conaway has a company called Gainz Sportsgear that specializes in producing fitness accessories for athletes and gyms.

Conaway spoke about his HBCU experience and emphasized the importance his HBCU professors had on him during his days at Bowie State.

“They stressed the importance of doing the right thing, making your family proud, being productive once you graduate, and most importantly, making sure you reach back to mentor a student either at Bowie or another HBCU,” continued Conaway.

Kadidja Dosso is the owner of Dosso Beauty, an organic beauty supplier and a Hampton University alum who spoke to Forbes about how her HBCU inspired her to reach the heights that she always imagined.

“I’ve never seen so many beautiful, driven Black people in one space constantly motivating you to be better and to do more and strive for the best,” said Dosso. “I’d always dreamed big, but I was never able to see it first hand. Going to an HBCU, especially Hampton, allowed me to see all the things I could accomplish.”

Hampton University assisted Dosso by helping her develop her entrepreneurial skills and her business acumen. And HBCUs just like Hampton University have been empowering other students to take their journeys into their hands for years.

The impact of the circulating Black dollar could create significant benefits for not only the Black business owner but for the Black consumer and these Black institutions of higher learning.

So during this holiday and any other shopping opportunity let’s make sure we designate our spending power to help empower our communities.


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