It all started with the murder of Trayvon Martin. “Trayvon was around the same age as my son and his death deeply disturbed me,” says Angela Majette, the co-founder, and president of the nonprofit Black Connect. The organization was founded in 2019 with a mission to offer legal support for small and midsize Black businesses and to eliminate the racial wealth gap in America. But the concept at launch was seven years in the making.  

“Trayvon’s death prompted calls for civil rights and social justice,” Majette recalls, “But civil rights movements have historically turned back to neutralizing economic inequalities as a measure of progress. So I created Black Connect as a national, chapter-based organization to provide a unifying framework to level the economic playing field.” 

Majette sees Black Connect’s role as one of a coordinator that can facilitate efforts between Black communities and supporters to move Black America toward economic empowerment and self-sufficiency. The organization also provides supportive services that help Black business owners avoid costly mistakes and achieve sustainability. Majette says that when she started her own business 20 years ago, she looked around for an organization modeled like Black Connect and realized it did not exist. It’s what led her to create an organization that could change the economic output for small and midsize businesses (SMBs) and makes a positive contribution to this generation as well as generations to come.

Since its launch, Black Connect has reportedly helped 1,800 Black business owners, provided $25,000 in funding to Black-owned businesses, and opened three chapters in Brooklyn, Tampa, and Tulsa. Recently, the org teamed up with NorthOne, a fast-growing fintech startup that offers financial services to thousands of SMBs. The partnership is expected to build up Black Connect’s financial literacy practice while also expanding its reach. Majette believes that having financial knowledge is key to a business’s health. She also understands that for Black businesses, access to those critical finances is a major hurdle to becoming a small business owner.  

“Black businesses have a harder time gaining access to capital. With the growth in startups and small businesses in recent years, this issue has ballooned into Black entrepreneurs having a harder time with capturing investments from investors and venture capitalists,” Majette tells EBONY. 

Lack of capital can create issues with cash flow, budgeting, and prioritizing limited financial resources. The Black Connect partnership with NorthOne, whose fintech platform makes banking easier for entrepreneurs, helps Black Connect members with money management. “Because of the limited financial resources,” Majette says, “this budgeting feature is that much more important, allowing businesses to efficiently manage what they have until they are able to get the capital they deserve.”