Black Entrepreneurship Week in Kansas City Kicks Off National Black Business Month

By Anne Dewvall for NetWork Kansas


August is National Black Business Month, and Kira Chereé Cobb, Founder and CEO of Entrepreneur Business Basics (EBB), a Kansas City-based minority entrepreneur training organization and a NetWork Kansas board-certified programming partner, is coordinating a week full of events focused on black entrepreneurship to kick off the month. Black Entrepreneurship Week (BEW) will host panels, workshops, pitch competitions, Black entrepreneur tours, and networking events to focus the nation’s attention on Black entrepreneurship in the Midwest. The finale of the week is a State of Black Entrepreneurship convening on Friday, August 4.

The State of Black Entrepreneurship creates space for challenging conversations about the gap between Black entrepreneurship and Black household wealth.

“Black entrepreneurs are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs on the globe,” said Cobb, “But we are the lowest revenue generator.”

Citing statistics from the 2020 Census, Cobb points out that the average revenue for a Black entrepreneur was only $28K annually, less than 1/6 the annual revenue of the next closest group of entrepreneurs.

The State of Black Entrepreneurship is the latest in a series of annual Conscious Conversations that Cobb launched in 2014 to bring awareness to issues facing Black businesses. After hosting last year’s event at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and discussing Black entrepreneurship, “I realized the conversation really needed to expand, and not only the conversation, but the awareness and activity and engagement,” said Cobb about growing this year’s effort into Black Entrepreneurship Week.

“Black entrepreneurs are in front of the camera more, being included in conversations more, getting more awards, but the data is not there. How is it that we are more visible but financially are at the bottom?” said Cobb. “The convening is to ask hard questions and to hear hard conversations.”

The convening unites Black entrepreneurs with stakeholders such as policy makers, lenders and others in position to make change happen and to hear from the community about the challenges facing them. ”We need all these people in the room, and we need to keep them in the room until the numbers change,” said Cobb.

Cobb hopes that BEW becomes an annual recognition and opportunity to assess how organizations are being conscious about Black entrepreneurs.

“My hope is that this is a catalyst for conversation in every board room where they have the power to make changes for black entrepreneurs.”

With Black household wealth projected to drop to zero by 2050, action is important.

“Black Americans are the largest consumer in the world,” Cobb explains, “Think about what happens to the economy when the Black business owner is no longer in business and the Black worker does not have income. That is going to affect the entire community. That whole ecosystem of buying and selling, supply and demand is going to die. This is an issue where the Black community will get hit worse but everyone else will feel the effect of that.”

Cobb is also worried about the future of Black entrepreneurship, citing concerns over the overturning of affirmative action as a dangerous precedent that could lead to the removal of other programs for minorities and women designed to help equalize an unequal playing field.

Despite dire statistics, there is hope.

“I really want Black entrepreneurs to realize they are more than just the data. They have the ability to really impact generations with their businesses,” she said. “As long as we are still here and still willing, we still have a chance to level up the Black community and Black entrepreneurs. It’s still possible.”

Any business or organization that is hosting an event during August that either recognizes or supports Black entrepreneurs is invited to email their event information to [email protected] for promotion.

To view the schedule for Black Entrepreneurship Week and register to attend the State of Entrepreneurship Convening, visit:


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