An important movement for racial justice comes to life during a pandemic. Rarely do such world-changing events happen simultaneously, and when they do, it’s important to consider – and act – in part by thinking about some of the ways in which the two issues collide.
For Black-owned businesses, racial disparities in business opportunities and a general lack of access is compounded by COVID-19, leaving already vulnerable businesses in tougher spots than ever before. That’s why I was so proud to see that SAP launched Spotlight Black Businesses, which elevates, promotes, and supports small, Black-owned businesses. Getting involved in this initiative is a natural for those of us at the SAP Concur organization, which began as a small business and has worked, from day one, together with small and mid-sized businesses to help them grow and thrive.
In the Spotlight Black Businesses initiative, these businesses are nominated by our employees and are given a platform on SAP social media channels to drive awareness – and most important – commerce. Together, and with your help, we can drive more sales to these operations, helping them overcome the challenging economic times, and make additional strides towards a more equitable ecosystem for the entrepreneurs who get up each day to generate economic activity and jobs in their communities.
I recently had a chance to speak with SAP Chief Marketing Officer Alicia Tillman about this campaign. Check out our conversation in the video below about how this initiative started and how our employees are getting involved.
And for those of you located outside of North America, we asked Alicia how everyone can engage in this campaign, who advised us that while the focus of this program is the US, the issue of racial equality goes beyond our borders. Supporting Black-owned businesses is something we call can do through online purchases and non-profit organizations.
In our new work-from-home world, new barriers have formed for retailers. There is far-less foot traffic. And, in many communities, restaurants and bars have been some of the hardest hit, suffering many of the worst impacts. The Spotlight Black Businesses program is working to overcome these barriers by fostering connections in two ways:
- Within the SAP community, employees are sharing their favorite Black-owned businesses with each other, working together around a common social justice goal.
- Within our own local communities, highlighting Black businesses is a way for employees to give back to their neighbors and friends.
In such uncertain times, it’s a good feeling to know that our people care and want to help. Cindy Beauchamp, an SAP employee, plainly states, “Why is SAP launching #SpotlightBlackBusinesses? Because it’s the right thing to do, so we do it.”
With so many Black-owned businesses across the United States participating, it’s easy to find a variety of products and services – from books, to candles, to cupcakes. Janet Webster Jones of Source Booksellers in Detroit, Michigan, is a proud Spotlight Black Businesses participant. “We are thrilled to be part of SAP’s Spotlight Black Businesses program,” she said. “I love being in the company of other businesses who are dedicated to serving their communities.” To find more participating businesses in the United States and across all industries, check out the Spotlight Black Businesses website.
This is only one action SAP is taking in the fight for racial equality. Find out more about the concrete steps SAP is taking toward social justice and follow the campaign hashtag on social media #SpotlightBlackBusinesses. During these times, there is so much that is out of our control, but we do know how and where we spend our hard-earned money. Using your purchasing power mindfully might seem small but to our participating Black-owned businesses, it is everything. I appreciate your help, as a digital community, in coming together to make sure our Black-owned businesses not only get by – but thrive!