Join Your Local Chamber
February 1, 2024
The rich history of Black Chambers of Commerce actually begins with Booker T. Washington’s National Negro Business League. The organization was started in 1900 to inspire and encourage impoverished southern Blacks to start their own businesses rather than waiting for their white counterparts to hire them. After 20 plus years of development some members felt that the organization was more focused on vanity metrics and seeming accomplished than it was concerned with its members opportunity and advancement. This led to the establishment of the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce by W.E.Clark in November of 1926.
Traditionally a chamber of commerce is a non-profit entity that supports a variety of businesses and organizations operating in community with each other. These businesses then seek to trade products and services among themselves within a strong network. For Black-owned businesses it is especially important to establish connections across industries in order to generate revenue and circulate the dollar through that chamber network as many times as possible. This is a primary function as it can be difficult for Black-owned business owners to find funding that will help them expand their businesses and stay open to continue to serve in their community through government funding and grants.
In addition to helping to develop a constant spending pattern among Black-owned entities it is the responsibility of the chamber to support the people as a voice in legislative situations. According to Charles O’Neal, who is the president of TAAACC and Chairman of US Black Chambers, Inc. “the State of Texas spends tax revenue levied from Black Texans with absolutely no regard for an equitable return on our taxpayer investment. Despite having the largest population of Black-owned businesses among fifty states, Texas Black-owned businesses come in virtually last in contract awards from state agencies.”
While Black chambers of commerce are important at the state level for being a voice for the overall community, your local area chamber can be just as much of a benefit to you. Not only in local government but to support community and business development right in your neighborhood.
One such example is the Acres Home Chamber for Business and Economic Development. The community of Acres Homes, TX, just northwest of Houston, TX was developed right around the time of World War I, the landholders began to sell the land by the acre to Black families who began to cultivate a strong unified entrepreneurial network in the area. Over the course of the last century the Acres Home community has gone from being a flourishing self-sustained, economically sound Black business Mecca to being bought and sold to the highest bidder to develop multifamily homes.
The mission and purpose of the Acres Home Chamber for Business and Economic Development is to bring the spirit of Black enterprise back to a community that was founded by it. Warren F. Muhammad the CEO and Chairman at the chamber wants people to remember what it means to have economic power as a people Knowledge is a force and power, the bearer of which enables the possessor to overcome barriers and obstacles. Muhammad says “The chamber has been striving to provide the community with the relevant and necessary knowledge to enable them to empower themselves in their business efforts.” With its upcoming partnership with HCC to provide business owners with a disaster preparedness plan, new needs and services assessment, and its collaboration with the City of Houston OBO to provide business development programming the Acres Home Chamber is committed to helping members grow their businesses and strengthen their networks through community development.
Stop by the Acres Home Chamber for Business and Economic Development during their normal business hours to introduce yourself and become a member. The chamber hosts a networking event each month, the Monthly Evening Business Networking Mixer on the fourth Wednesday.
For more information on the Acres Home Chamber for Business and Economic Development visit www.acreshomechamber.com