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Black Business Month amplifies next generation of F&B entrepreneurs

The month celebrates Black food and beverage founders, who are shaking up the industry with innovative plant-based, health-conscientious and wellness-focused products.

Audarshia Townsend

August 11, 2023

3 Min Read
black business owner
A Black business owner packs his products.

At a Glance

  • The F&B industry is one of the fastest-growing areas for Black entrepreneurship.
  • Black-owned F&B businesses are creating new products and services to meet the needs of a diverse and growing population.
  • Black-owned businesses are leading the way in the development of plant-based foods and beverages.

August is Black Business Month, an occasion to celebrate the achievements and contributions of Black entrepreneurs and business owners. In the food and beverage industry, Black-owned businesses are making a significant impact, with innovative products and services aiming to change the way we eat and drink.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are more than 2.6 million Black-owned businesses in the United States. Of these, nearly 100,000 are in the food and beverage industry. This sector is one of the fastest-growing areas for Black entrepreneurship, with Black-owned food and beverage businesses generating more than $100 billion in revenue each year.

Black-owned food and beverage businesses are not only thriving, but they are also innovating. They are creating new products and services that are meeting the needs of a diverse and growing population. For example, Black-owned businesses are leading the way in the development of plant-based foods and beverages, as well as health-conscientious and wellness-focused products such as Pescavore’s sustainable Ahi tuna jerky strips, BLK & Bold Specialty Beverages and Yolélé African Foods.

In addition to their economic impact, Black-owned food and beverage businesses are also playing a vital role in their communities. They are providing jobs and opportunities for Black entrepreneurs and workers, and they are helping to preserve and promote African American culture and heritage.

Related:How women farmers in West Africa are bringing superfoods, spices to the global market

During Black Business Month, it’s important to recognize the achievements and innovations of these businesses. By supporting them, it creates a more equitable and inclusive economy.

At noon CT Thursday, August 17, Food & Beverage Insider is hosting “The plant-based revolution: How the BIPOC community plays an important role in its growth.” Moderated by Food & Beverage Insider Content Director Audarshia Townsend, the webinar will cover the unique challenges this group encounters, including supply-chain issues and incorporating heritage flavors into products. Speakers consist of Riana Lynn, food scientist, Journey Foods; Wendy Ekua (W.E.) Da'Cruz, CEO/founder, The Mushroom Angel; Mehek Khera, CEO/founder, Niramaya Foods; and LaShaun "Sah" Jackson, founder, Good2Go Veggie. Register here for the free webinar.

Also, Food & Beverage Insider partner Dine Diaspora, which debuted the first-ever Black Women in Food Summit last spring, has partnered with Eat Okra and UberEats to offer grants totaling $100,000 for Black women-owned food businesses in the United States. The Black Women in Food Grants will provide capital for Black women food ventures that are on Uber Eats to accelerate growth for businesses. Grants of $10,000 will be given to 10 enterprises that effectively demonstrate how the funds will catalyze impactful growth.

Related:American food scientist opens innovative incubator in Ghana

“Through our work supporting Black women across the food industry, we know access to capital is a significant challenge for Black women-owned food businesses,” Nina Oduro, co-founder, Dine Diaspora, said. “These grants can contribute to the long-term sustainability of Black women-owned food enterprises on Uber Eats and enable them to reach potential customers through EatOkra.”

Winners of the grants will also access resources such as access to EatOkra’s Accelerator program and access to events and opportunities, such as the Black Women in Food Summit.  Apply for the grants through Sept. 8 right here.

A lifelong Chicagoan, Audarshia Townsend is a veteran food and beverage journalist who serves as the content director for Food & Beverage Insider. She also appears regularly on local and national media outlets to discuss food and beverage trends. When Townsend's not on the eats beat, she's an avid yogi and meditation practitioner. 

About the Author(s)

Audarshia Townsend

Content Director, Food & Beverage Insider, Informa Markets

A lifelong Chicagoan, Audarshia Townsend is an award-winning, veteran food and beverage journalist who serves as the content director for the Food & Beverage Insider brand. Her experience as a visionary editor and writer spans 30 years, with an emphasis in print and digital magazines. Audarshia's professional passion is to champion and amplify underserved business communities. Some of her most recent content includes her review of 2023's F&B trends, the future of food science careers, an interview with culinary star Padma Lakshmi, and Pescavore's sustainable ahi tuna jerky strips. She also appears regularly on local and national media outlets to discuss food and beverage trends, most notably FOX-32 Chicago, WGN-TV, WXRT-FM, NPR-Chicago and the Travel Channel. She is often called on to serve as a judge for prestigious food, beverage and restaurant awards, including the James Beard Foundation, NEXTY Awards and Black Women in Food. She continues to write for Chicago magazine, and previously she has written for the likes of the Chicago Tribune, Eater Chicago, Esquire, Essence, Playboy, Time Out Global and World’s Best Bars. To date, Audarshia has guest lectured at the following higher-education institutions: Columbia College Chicago for undergraduate journalism students; Northwestern University for graduate journalism students; and Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) for undergraduate, graduate and PhD food science students. She also mentors aspiring young writers and journalists whenever she can. Email her at [email protected] and also connect with her on LinkedIn.

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