SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Two women are launching a new nonprofit, Black San Diego, to bolster Black-owned businesses locally.
It started at a kitchen table over chips and salsa four years ago. Sheri Jones, a real estate broker, and physical education teacher Tinicia Smith wanted to create a hub for Black-owned businesses in San Diego.
They created a Facebook group called Black San Diego and now they're more than 34,000 members strong.
"For the last four years we've been able to collect data and what we realize is that business owners haven't been able to sustain because they don't have the tools," Jones said.
She first noticed the issue when she was running her real estate business and went to a conference. She said she was the one Black person there and it was uncomfortable.
"I knew when I was having trouble, others must be too," Jones said.
This week, Black San Diego became official, registered through the government and they're excited to plan workshops to offer those tools to the community. Jones described the workshop as, "an 8-week course where they can go through and get business basics, book keeping, business taxes, really how to formulate their corporation."
Newly Appointed Board Member and CEO of Growth 1031 Lance Growth said these workshops are crucial for black-owned businesses like his.
"I stumbled into my position.. I made so many mistakes and I just had to sit down and learn from those mistakes," he said. "I'm going to send my operations lady, and ask her to take some extra notes on accounting, on marketing, on filing correctly, but it's a really beneficial tool."
The workshop costs $500 per business and the nonprofit is launching a donation campaign to sponsor local Black-owned businesses.
"If the dollar circulates in the Black community then we can unite and produce generational wealth and that's what we're here to do," Smith said.
They hope to bring members of their community out and help them elevate their business, "they don't want to step in the front, not get criticized, not get caught up in the chaos. We've been working smartly in the back, building our companies and now we don't have the luxury to sit in the dark anymore."