INDIANAPOLIS — The indignation of 2020 has incited the mass rally of support behind Black and Brown people, businesses, and culture.
"Those agonizing minutes of seeing (George Floyd's) death woke everyone up," Charlotte Westerhaus-Renfrow, associate faculty chair at the Kelley School of Business, said. "It was different than reading about police brutality or injustice."
Where some choose not to march in the form of protest, they choose to use their money.
"Some people wanted to find another way to respond, in a proactive manner, after what happened. Folks wanted to know what else they could do besides criminal justice work, in particular," Westerhaus-Renfrow said.
Black-owned businesses are growing, particularly companies owned by Black women. However, studies indicate that banks often hinder that ownership and growth by discriminating against Blacks and other minorities who seek small business loans.
"Quite frankly, when we look at entrepreneurship, the engagement of capital, or startup companies, there is not a lot of research that has been done on Black-owned businesses because they didn't quite catch the national researchers' attention," Westerhaus-Renfrow explained.
The surest way to thoroughly strengthen local economies as a whole is to support Black and minority-owned businesses. Studies, at the very least, show that Black owners hire people in their community, which in turn helps raise generational wealth. A great example being Indianapolis's own Madame CJ Walker.
"The entire community benefited from Madame Walker's business doing well," Westerhaus-Renfrow said. "So, other businesses started to form. The neighborhood really was thriving. Until its demise."
With the rich heritage of Madame Walker being right here in the Circle City, Westerhaus-Renfrow says she looks forward to watching the growth in support of Black-owned businesses, but also Black entrepreneurs, right here in Indianapolis.
"The bottom line is Black-owned businesses have been providing quality products; they've been extremely innovative," Westerhaus-Renfrow said. "There are so many innovations that (all people) have to use every day, all of these coming from black entrepreneurs."
"We need to do more research; we need to get more data. We can't let this movement die, especially at a time when our country will need as many innovative entrepreneurs as possible; to jump-start the economy and get us on our feet," Westerhaus-Renfrow said.
She says, "Now, hopefully, we will see an uptick on the research to see exactly what is happening."
Diversity in form of ownership can uplift communities and promote productivity.
Sustainability is unworkable without inclusion.
Here's a searchable list of Black-owned businesses in Central Indiana:
If you would like to have your business added to this database, please email Shakkira Harris, WRTV Digital Content Editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.