August is Black Business Month. Let’s put our money into Black businesses, leaders, and communities. Here are 4 ways to do that.

The path to racial equity and Black Liberation includes following, trusting, hiring, and paying Black people. But advancing equity doesn’t just benefit some—it benefits all of us (to reflect more on how we all benefit from racial equity and Black Liberation, join our Coalition trainings, or read up about the curb-cut effect).

This August is #BlackBusinessMonth, an opportunity to support one another by building Black business, Black wealth, and Black power. Not sure where to start? Here are 4 places!

Image Description: An orange box with text over a background of solar panels on a rural building's roof. Text reads: "The energy transition is inevitable. Justice is Not. #BlackBusinessMonth. Support Black-Owned Businesses this, and every month. @MidwestBDC"
Image Description: An orange box with text over a background of solar panels on a rural building’s roof. Text reads: “The energy transition is inevitable. Justice is Not. #BlackBusinessMonth. Support Black-Owned Businesses this, and every month. @MidwestBDC”

1: Support our Partners from last month’s Coalition meeting.

At last month’s full coalition meeting, we got to hear from two Black leaders in renewable energy: Shimekia Nicols of Soulardarity, and Ari Dirul of Ryter Cooperative Industries and the Lumens Foundation. Hopefully you were excited by their stories as well as their organizations. You can visit their websites (linked above) to learn more about their work, and find out how to support them. You can also find them on social media: Soulardarity Facebook & Twitter. Ryter Cooperative Industries Facebook & LinkedIn.

2: Support and Promote Black-Owned Energy & Environment Organizations in the Midwest.

There are plenty of other Black-owned businesses and organizations to support here in the Midwest and beyond. In the energy and environmental space, here are a few worth checking out:

Detroit-based Walker-Miller Energy Services provides residential energy audits and upgrades, as well as utility services like transformers, installation, and customer experience services.

EcoWorks is a Detroit-based non-profit (and Coalition participant!) providing sustainability solutions to cities, school districts, organizations, and residents through a wide range of programs.

Renewable Energy Partners is a Minneapolis-based solar developer.

Minnesota Renewable Now is working in Minneapolis to engage residents around renewable energy, upgrade and retrofit homes, and sign residents up for renewable energy.

3: Support and promote Black-Owned Energy & Environment Organizations outside the Midwest.

Maryland-based SolGreen builds outdoor, off-grid workstations (called Evodia Solar Workstations), which have been installed at the United Nations, Michigan State University, the Cities of Orlando and El Paso, and beyond.

Energy Electives is a Tennessee provider of home energy audit, efficiency, and renewable energy services.

BlocPower is the Brooklyn-based electrification retrofit company that needs no introduction. (Catch founder and CEO Donnel Baird at Fresh Energy’s October 14 Benefit Breakfast).

4: Bookmark and Use Directories of Black-Owned Businesses for all your Shopping and Contracting.

The American Association of Blacks in Energy has chapters across the country, and members can search the database of member-owned businesses. (However, only paid accounts can access the database. If anyone is a member and can recommend this service, we’d love to hear more!)

Black Business Green Book is a national list of a variety of businesses by Color of Change.

Rank Tribe is a large national director, also available as an app, and allows for filtering of Black Woman owned businesses.

We all have to eat! Eat Okra is an app for Android and Apple that lets you search for Black-owned restaurants near you.

There are plenty of state and local directories across the region, including:

Google Maps also allows businesses to identify themselves as Black-owned, so if Maps is already part of your routine, it’s easy to level up your research and support Black businesses.

No doubt this list is incomplete! Send us your favorite directory, app, or company in the comments on our blog, or by email or social media.

-Eric Fowler

Thanks for reading this reflection! Want to write the next one for our newsletter and Coalition blog? Let’s talk.

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