According to the U.S. Black Chamber of Commerce, “African-American businesses have grown at an exponential rate in the 21st century.” Currently in the U.S., there are nearly 2.6 million African-American-owned businesses. Due to the inequitable rules or possible racism in some work environments, D.C. native, entrepreneur Kezia Williams, believes “Entrepreneurship is not only necessary for black employees seeking to fully capitalize from their labor.” In an article posted by editor Gene Marks, he stated “African American businesses grew by more than 400% in 2018 as compared to 2017.” As of 2019, the percentage of African-American millennials who owns a small business has increased by 5%.
Delaware State University offers a small business center where students can get help finding internships or request information. Ms. Janet McCrea, a Career and Academic advisor in the Bank of America building on campus, who has multiple interactions with students in the College of Business on a daily says “a lot of the time, we have students come in and inquire information or tips on how to start a business. I always try my best to assist each individual, and encourage everyone to always write down all their thoughts,” said McCrea. “I use Tyler Perry’s story as an example; if this is something that you really want, then you have to have faith that it’s going to work out.”
The secret to this formidable growth of black entrepreneurship is the African-American females, who make up 38% of African-American business owners. With the knowledge of this finding, many students on Delaware State’s University campus have decided to pursue their own passion of opening up a business while still being a full time student.
Senior business management major at Delaware State University, Bria Blackstocks, owns two businesses– a lip gloss and does hair as well. While in high school, Blackstock obtained her cosmetology license where she studied hair, skin, and nails. Earning her cosmetology licence played a major role in Blackstock’s decision to become a business major.
“I always loved doing hair, and originally wanted to be an accountant and open up my own hair salon. I wanted to not only be my own boss, but accountant as well,” she insisted.
Hoping to expand her brand, Blackstock wanted to feature another product that would be a necessity for the typical female. Her lip gloss line, “The Gloss” was launched in the spring of 2019. What started off as just an interest for Blackstock, she easily got inspired by watching people on YouTube make their own lip gloss.
“Similar to my hair business, I was in charge of everything that has to do with building my lip gloss line. I didn’t need anybody’s approval! I could pick out whatever cents, packages, logos. I could do whatever,” Blackstock stated.
Taylor Lee is another senior at Delaware State University who owns her own homemade dessert business. At a young age, Taylor’s family introduced her to the skill of baking, and she’s been baking ever since.
“Baking is one of my hobbies, and something I really enjoy doing. My friends would always see me bake, and played a significant role in actually bringing this hobby of mine to life,” Lee stated. “I figured, since this is something that I really enjoy doing, I should turn it into an on-campus hustle that would put extra money in my pocket.”
With the support of several close friends, Taylor started “Tay’s Tasty Treats” in the fall of 2018. At Tay’s Tasty Treats, customers have a vast array of desert options to choose from, including but not limited to banana pudding, cheesecake filled strawberries, cake, funnel cake, and more.
While still being a full-time student, Taylor viewed being in the classroom as the perfect opportunity for her to network and promote her business. “To be a senior in college and business owner can be very hard sometimes, especially when you want to make everyone happy,” Lee claimed. “Every Tuesday, which I have renamed “Tasty Tuesdays,” I try to have a different specials like $1 cake pops, make funnel cake, and different things that I know students would really like and can’t really get anywhere else. Tuesday’s can get a little busy, so I always make sure that I’m on top of my workload.”
In the next five years, Taylor hopes to expand her business and potentially open up her own bakery. “I will be back in Maryland by then, and I have faith that I will have enough clientele from both Delaware and Maryland to make everything possible,” she added. “DSU will not be the end for “Tay’s Tasty Treats,” this is just the beginning!” For more updates or specials, you can follow Taylor’s desert business on Instagram @_Taystastytreats_.
When asked to describe the state of black entrepreneurship, both Blackstock and Lee eagerly responded, “You’ll find a lot entrepreneurs on DSU campus.” Blackstock went into further discussion and stated, “Whatever you’re looking for, im pretty sure you can find someone on campus who would do it for you on campus. We have makeup artists, black nail techs, photographers, hair stylists, and the list literally goes on. There’s a lot of talented people on this campus.”
2020 will be a defining year, for business owners as the percentage of black entrepreneurship is set to increase by at least 10%. In support of this new movement, Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, plans to provide black entrepreneurs with business grants that aren’t available to them as frequently due to the color of their skin.