Black History Month

"Dreams are lovely but they are just dreams... It's hard work that makes things happen. It's hard work that creates change." - Shonda Rhimes


SBA celebrates and supports black-owned small businesses

Every February, to commemorate Black History Month, SBA highlights resources, funding, and training available to black-owned small businesses and entrepreneurs. 

Timeline of African Americans/Blacks in business

  • Philadelphia, 1810. The first Black insurance company, African Insurance Company, is founded.
  • New York, 1821. Thomas Jennings becomes the first African American to be granted a patent for his invention of the "dry-scouring" process, a predecessor to today’s dry-cleaning methods.
  • New York, 1827. The first Black newspaper, Freedom’s Journal, is founded.
  • Boston, 1900. The National Negro Business League is established by Booker T. Washington, ushering in what historian Juliet E.K. Walker called “the Golden Age of Black business” until 1930.
  • Oklahoma, 1906. O.W. Gurley establishes the town of Greenwood and founds the first business in what would later come to be known as “Black Wall Street”.
  • Nationwide, 1932. The Great Depression caused the African American unemployment rate to climb to approximately 50%.
  • New York, 1945. Rose Meta Morgan opens a salon renowned for celebrating Black women and Black standards of beauty.
  • Chicago, 1971. Joan and George Johnson’s cofounded hair care products company, Johnson Products Co., becomes the first Black-owned company to be listed on the American Stock Exchange.
  • Nationwide, 2002-2007. The number of black-owned businesses increases by 60.5 percent – more than triple the national rate of 18.0 percent – reaching 1.9 million.
  • Nationwide, 2002-2011. Black businesses experience the largest growth in number of businesses seen this century.
  • Nationwide, 2010. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act assist Black-owned businesses in procuring federal contracts.
  • Nationwide, 2022. There are 161,031 Black-owned employer businesses in the U.S. according to


SBA regularly hosts online training events on a variety of topics for the new or seasoned small business owner.


All SBA Programs and services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. You may contact SBA’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Civil Rights for additional information. SBA and its Resource Partners help entrepreneurs with access to capital, mentorship, and business opportunities. 

SBA offers programs and services to help Black business owners and entrepreneurs start, grow, expand, and recover from disasters. You can learn more about:

SCORE resources:

Contact us

If you have questions about SBA's programs and services, you can contact your nearest SBA District Office. SBA District Offices offer counseling, training, and business development to help you start and grow your business.

Last updated January 29, 2024