As part of its expanded effort to support Black business owners as they deal with the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, Facebook has announced a new #BuyBlack Summit, an all-day event that will provide advice and guidance for Black-owned businesses, to be held on August 24th.
As explained by Facebook:
"This free, one-day virtual summit will be hosted by comedian, actress and podcast host Michelle Buteau, and feature speakers like Shelly Bell of Black Girl Ventures and Arian Simone of Fearless Fund. Discussions will include topics such as learning to drive sales ahead of the holiday season and how to access capital for small businesses, while providing opportunity to connect with Black business owners."
The full schedule includes a range of workshops and panel sessions with experts, providing specific insight on how to utilize Facebook's tools for business growth.
In addition, Facebook has also published a new, 18-page guide on the importance of inclusive representation for brands, and how they can help amplify Black voices throughout August.
The initiative is part of Facebook's expanded support program for Black-owned brands, which have collectively suffered major impacts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Which, of course, most businesses have in some form, but research shows that Black-owned SMBs, in particular, have been disproportionately impacted by the virus and its flow-on effects.
According to a study conducted by the University of California last year, around 40% of Black-owned businesses had been forced into closure early on in the pandemic, compared to 17% of white-owned businesses, while a Facebook-commissioned report published in October showed that Black-owned businesses were closing at twice the rate of other SMBs.
Given this, and the broader discussion around addressing societal inequality, it makes sense for Facebook to put more specific focus on Black-owned brands, and provide guidance and assistance, where possible, to help them reduce the ongoing burden and stress.
Because the virus is not done with us yet. While the vaccine roll-out continues on, and many regions are looking to open up once again, vaccination resistance, as well as new forms of the COVID-19 strain, looks set to keep plunging many of us in and out of lockdowns for some time yet.
Given these considerations, this is an important initiative from Facebook, which should help many businesses gain a better understanding of how they can maintain their operations, and maximize opportunities, with Facebook's tools.
You can read more about Facebook's #BuyBlack Summit, and register to attend, here.