AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – The pandemic was not kind to our business community, but somehow, we saw a 40 percent growth of Black-owned businesses in the state of Georgia.
Here’s how the Greater Augusta Black Chamber of Commerce is helping local businesses survive.
Brunch House of Augusta and Cliffisms Sports & Spirits are on different sides of the city, but they have plenty in common.
“As soon as we open, we’re facing closure,” said Co-owner of Cliffisms Sports & Spirits, Clifton Thomas.
Both businesses are ‘pandemic boomers’.
Brunch House of Augusta Owner Asian Brown said: “We opened our business in February 2021, right in the middle of the pandemic.”
Both owners received advice and assistance from the Black Chamber of Commerce.
President of the Greater Augusta Black Chamber of Commerce Ronic West said: “We had about 40 percent growth of Black-owned businesses in the state of Georgia through the pandemic.”
Brown shares how it paid off.
“They have been very helpful. We actually received a grant from them to receive a few things for the business,” he said.
Thomas said: “The Black Chamber actually works with us and tried to get things pushed where we can at least make some type of money and also work with Augusta.”
West said: “Our organization has trained over 150 business owners in the last eight months and has given out $200,000 in grants.”
The old government house was full of Black entrepreneurs looking to meet, connect and learn from one another.
Thomas said: “Stronger Black Coalition of Entrepreneurs and trying to do better in Augusta together than we are doing separately.”
West says Black business owners still face adversity.
“That’s why organizations like us are very critical to make sure they get the resources and access to the capital,” she said.
August is Black Business Month and they’ve got more events planned.
Thomas said: “They can help you get in the right room with the right people, and that’s what they have done for me.”
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