Issa Rae has joined forces with American Express and the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC) to promote the extension of ByBlack, the first national certification program exclusively for Black-ownership designation. The program began as a Black-owned business directory. At no cost to consumers, the digital platform now opens the door for new customers and secure contracts for Black-owned businesses across the country.
The certification program provides businesses an approved accreditation and is trusted by customers. This enables consumers and other companies to easily find U.S.-based Black-owned businesses and shop their products and services.
“The success of Black-owned businesses benefits the communities they anchor and in turn, the country at large. The Black business community generates more than $150 billion in revenue but has even larger potential,” said USBC President Ron Busby in a press release. “Working with American Express, we are continuing to expand ByBlack across the U.S. to help further propel the growth of Black-owned businesses by creating unparalleled access, visibility and opportunities.”
American Express plans to use the platform themselves to increase revenue to Black businesses. Jessica Ling, senior vice president, Global B2B Marketing, American Express shared the company’s goal of patronizing Black-owned suppliers at a larger percentage.
“American Express is committed to increasing our spending with Black-owned suppliers to at least $100 million annually by the end of 2024, and we will use the ByBlack platform to help achieve this goal,” she said. “We encourage other corporations to join us in leveraging the ByBlack platform to find certified Black-owned businesses and to enhance their supplier diversity programs.”
Emmy-nominated actor, writer, and producer Issa Rae is only one entrepreneur who has taken advantage of the certification program. The star and creator of Insecure certified her business Sienna Naturals, cofounded with Hannah Diop, with the hopes of reaching more customers and putting a spotlight on the opportunity for other Black-owned companies to follow suit.
“We have only scratched the surface of the collective power of Black businesses, so I am excited to join American Express and the USBC to shine a light on the opportunities ByBlack present,” Rae relayed in the press release. “ByBlack is a powerful platform that connects Black business owners with new revenue streams and helps all of us find and shop at standout businesses. Together we can spread the word to support small Black businesses.”
The initiative is part of the USBC and American Express’ broader efforts to support Black-owned businesses. Uber and Verizon are two companies that recognize the certifications. To qualify, a business must be 51 percent Black-owned and controlled by a Black business owner.
Businesses can begin the ByBlack certification process or create a directory profile here: https://usblackchambers.org/certification.