A new project aimed at showcasing black-owned businesses in Louisville is operational.
The Louisville Urban League established a permanent indoor/outdoor pop-up space at their West Louisville sports and learning complex. The League will use the PNC Entrepreneur Plaza to support Black business owners by providing them with an area to promote their services.
The plaza opened Friday in celebration of National Black Business Month, an August initiative that began in 2004.
Sadiqa Reynolds, the league outgoing President and CEOsaid interested black entrepreneurs should apply to reserve a spot online through its Center for Entrepreneurship.
“Wherever we can, we’re highlighting black businesses every time we open the doors. And we decide, who does it make sense to have here? Is it, you know, the bookstore? Is it the coffee shop?… The more the community sees them, the more their business grows,” Reynolds said.
Business owners can market their services to guests at the sports complex’s events such as the upcoming 2023 ACC Indoor Track and Field Championships next February. This event is expected to draw 1,000 athletes and 2,000 spectators.
The league previously worked with black business owners to set up pop-up services on site before opening the space and reserving a space for this type of activity.
Ausha Hilliman runs Julee’s Mocha, a new coffee shop on the Nia Center in the Parkland district. She said she previously advertised her company at the Sports and Learning Complex.
“They invite us in pretty quickly, and I’m always here to support them and get my name out there,” said Hilliman, noting Cafes are rare in the West End.
Aaron Williams has also participated in previous pop-ups at the complex. He owns Chicago’s Jerk Tacos, a restaurant across the street in the Russell neighborhood.
He said he wants his work as a black business owner to help inspire the next generation.
“I think it’s important for youth to see minority-owned companies and it gives them something to aspire to and look forward to,” Williams said.
Last year, Mayor Greg Fischer’s office said that 2.4% of Louisville’s businesses were owned by black people.
According to the Federal Reserve Survey of consumer financesFor example, the median net worth of black American families in 2019 was nearly eight times lower than the median net worth of white families, despite growing 33% since 2016.
This wealth gap Effects on the ownership rate of companiesaccording to a report by the Brookings Institution, a centrist research and policy group.
The PNC Foundation funded Entrepreneur Plaza last year through a $1 million grant to the League to support business and people development at the Sports and Learning Complex.