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National Alliance for Black Business Launch First-Ever Black Business Enterprise (BBE) Certification

BBE Certification and Scorecard to be Piloted in Historic Black Towns, and Cities with Black Mayors, Then on National Scale, to Address the Fact That:


  • Less than 1% of nation's 3.2 million Black-owned businesses are certified as minority-owned

  • The vast wealth gap between Black and White communities not changed since 1968

  • More than 1,100 pledges totaling $200 Billion to Black equity in 2020 are mostly unfulfilled


The National Alliance for Black Business (NABB), co-founded by the National Business League (NBL) and National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC), in partnership with the World Conference of Mayors (WCM) and the Historic Black Towns and Settlements Alliance (HBTSA) today announced the nation's first-ever Black Business Enterprise (BBE) certification and scorecard program at the WCM Black Business Breakfast and Press Conference presented by Comerica Bank.


The landmark BBE certification and scorecard program, designed and trademarked by the NBL, will certify businesses that are at least 51 percent Black-owned to be eligible for mainstream public, private, and philanthropic contracting and procurement opportunities.


The BBE certification was created to address the fact that today, 59 years after the 1964 Civil Rights Act, less than 1 percent of the nation's 3.2 million Black-Owned Businesses are certified as U.S. Minority Businesses according to a 2021 report published by the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC). Of 3.2 million Black-owned companies, only 5,881 Black businesses have an MBE certification.


Uncertified minority-owned companies are ineligible for U.S. government procurement equity programs, freezing them out of more than $100 billion in minority-designated U.S. government contracts according to data released by the White House. Also, less than 1 percent of Black-Owned Businesses are certified with any federal, public, private or minority certification programs in the U.S., since the 1968 expansion of the Civil Rights Act.


The BBE certification is accompanied by the BBE scorecard, a groundbreaking digital accountability tool that will help organizations measure, publish, and improve participation and spend ratios with Black business, led by national Black business organizations. The scorecard will hold all sectors and industries accountable, including the 1,100 private U.S. corporations that pledged an estimated total of $200 billion to Black equity efforts after George Floyd's murder in 2020, with those promises still mostly unfulfilled, according to a 2020 McKinsey & Company report.


"The BBE certification and scorecard are designed to offer Black-led solutions after decades of economic equity programs have failed Black people," said Dr. Ken L. Harris, president, and CEO of the NBL and co-founder of the NABB. "The Black community can no longer depend on non-Black-led certification programs and non-Black-led business organizations that, in large part, have failed to produce the results necessary to change the economic conditions of Black people in America," he said. "Booker T. Washington had it right at the turn of the 20th century. It is time for the Black community to take ownership of their economic destiny, we are looking for ROI, a return on inclusion."


Although the U.S. Civil Rights Act was a response to Black civil unrest, data shows that Black people have not economically benefited from these initiatives as much as other disadvantaged groups. Federal Reserve Data shows the wealth gap between Black and White communities has not materially changed since the years immediately following the U.S. Civil War and is unchanged since 1968 with the expansion of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.


In 2021, White Americans had seven times the wealth of Black Americans, the widest wealth gap of any other minority group in the U.S., according to the Economic Policy Institute.


The BBE certification will address the barriers to certification unique to the Black business community and engage Black-owned businesses through established Black commerce channels, which broader diversity and minority certifications have failed to do.


"The illusion of inclusion is no longer an acceptable business model. Today, we unveil a powerful tool to clear the smoke and mirrors from minority business data and keep score on our own Black economic progress," said Charles H. DeBow, III, president and CEO of the NBCC and Co-Founder of NABB. "NABB will be the organization of the future that delivers measurable results to the Black community, while mitigating the dilution of diversity and benign neglect approach to addressing Black economic inequity. Living the Black experience, we are the only ones who can define what equal market access and accountability look like for us, by us."


The NABB will introduce the pilot BBE certification and scorecard program to several historically Black municipalities, including Grambling, Louisiana; Mound Bayou, Mississippi; Eatonville, Florida; Hobson City, Alabama; and Tuskegee, Alabama, and other cities with Black mayors, before launching the initiative on a national scale.

"The BBE certification and scorecard are perfect examples of Black self-determination—it's a powerful thing to measure and validate your own progress, said Johnny Ford, President and founder of the WCM and the HBTSA and the first Black mayor of Tuskegee, Alabama."


About the National Alliance for Black Business (NABB)

Founded Sep. 27, 2022, the NABB represents a historic partnership between the National Business League (NBL), the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) and Black-led national organizations dedicated to the economic empowerment of Black businesses, communities, and people. Visit www.nationalallianceforblackbusiness.com


About the National Business League (NBL)

The NBL is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, independent commerce organization, founded by Dr. Booker T. Washington on August 23, 1900, in Boston. It is the nation's first and oldest trade association for Black business in the country, created 12 years before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Visit www.nationalbusinessleague.org


About the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC)

The NBCC is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, nonsectarian organization dedicated to the economic empowerment of African American communities. Founded by Harry Alford and Kay DeBow Alford on May 23, 1993, in Washington, D.C., the NBCC is the largest federation of Black chambers in the world and is dedicated to economically empowering and sustaining African American communities through entrepreneurship and capitalistic activity within the U.S. Visit www.nationalblackcc.org


About The World Conference of Mayors, Inc. (WCM)

The WCM was founded and organized in April 1984 by the Honorable Johnny Ford of Tuskegee, Alabama. WCM is a nonprofit, worldwide conference of mayors, former mayors and other elected and appointed local public officials in the U.S. and abroad. Visit www.worldconferenceofmayors.org


About the Historic Black towns and Settlements Alliance (HBTSA)

The HBTSA represents historic places settled by people of African descent in the early establishment of the U.S. More than 1,200 Black settlements, enclaves and towns were established between the late 18th and early 20th centuries in a display of black self-government and independent enterprise that caused backlash from the U.S. government. Visit https://hbtsa.org/

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