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How to Support Black-Owned Businesses in Utah

2/26/24  | Kinsey Love, Digital Marketing Manager


Black-Owned Small Business

As February comes to an end, let's emphasize the support and recognition that Black-owned businesses in Utah warrant—not just confined to Black History Month but extending throughout the entire year.  Many Black-owned businesses in the state have become notable and inspiring stories of success and perseverance.

Sylvia Kapsandoy, CEO of USimply Season, an artisanal food spice and seasonings company headquartered in Kaysville, has a remarkable story. With proud roots in Kenya, her dream was to share her love of cooking delicious, healthy, and flavorful food with her customers. Silvia founded her company in 2013, but it wasn’t until a couple of years later when she sold over 3,000 units online in one month that she had her breakthrough moment.

“That was nuts,” Sylvia says with a laugh. While it was a very hectic period in her life as an entrepreneur, it was the start of big things for USimplySeason. Eventually, she was able to quit her day job and focus entirely on her budding business.

Thanks to that period and other experience she’s gained from running a successful business from the ground up, Sylvia and other Black business owners like her, have found ways to grow and thrive in Utah.

The movement and economic impact are rapidly expanding. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, Black business ownership is growing at the fastest rate in 30 years. Across the country, the share of Black households owning a business has more than doubled since 2019 and in Utah alone, nearly 72,000 new business applications—Black or otherwise—were filed.

Education and preparation, according to Charles Henderson, who runs a Black–owned business of his own, I3PM Inc., a business consulting practice, are the keys to making it.

“I come from the standpoint of ‘What’s your desired outcome?’ ‘What are you doing business for?’ ‘What is your why?’” Charles says. “Then, let’s look at your processes to understand how you are accomplishing that, whether it be as a product or a service.”

If you’re looking to become a Black-owned business success story—or simply looking to shop or benefit a Black-owned business—it is important to create a community of support.

Charles recommends that Black-owned businesses be Black-owned business supporters as well. Creating a symbiotic relationship, where everyone benefits from each other, can be uplifting to the entire community.

“It’s encouraging people to do the same thing,” he says. “Is there a Black-owned business you can get your raw goods from? Is there a Black accountant you can use? Is there a Black attorney you can patronize? When the dollar is coming into the community, it doesn’t always stay there and we can do better at that.”


Resources for Black-Owned Businesses in Utah

Charles is a strong proponent of the Utah Black Chamber of Commerce, where many resources are available for Black business owners.

“The Black Chamber of Commerce has been phenomenal. There are workshops and events and sessions where individuals give presentations on selling their products and services,” Charles says. “There’s a lot to be gained from sharing, and the Chamber is facilitating ways to educate others. It might not work for you exactly, but there are important lessons that others have learned.”

One of the most critical resources, however, relates to funding. For Black and minority business owners, the avenues to increased capital are in place, you just have to know where to look and how to position yourself for these tools.


Register as a Minority-owned Business

Filing as a minority-owned business can be the gateway to securing reliable revenue. Charles explains that many federal government entities are tasked with devoting a certain portion of their spending toward businesses owned by minorities.

If you meet certain criteria, are bankable, and are registered as a minority-owned business, you may be eligible to win a government contract, depending on the area in which you do business.

“When you bid for these contracts, you may have a little bit of an edge where you have that criteria and can qualify and get into that business,” Charles says.


Business Grants for Black Women

While they’re usually a very competitive process, Sylvia has won a few grants to support her business and push it further along. Grants, or a system of government funding to stimulate the economy and business dreams of the public, can be extremely beneficial.

Sylvia says what’s helped her win a handful of grants has been her ability to tell her brand’s story and why it makes a difference to her customers.

“I always tell people, we're not for everybody, but for those who actually use our products, we've had so many reviews where customers really appreciate what we do,” Sylvia says.

Even if it is competitive, Charles believes that putting in the time to find the grants and apply for them is worth it.

“If you're going to grow and scale your business, you want to go out and look and look at every funding opportunity that's out there,” he says. “You may not be in a position to do it today, you may be in a position to do it another time but networking is a good way of learning more about that.”


Ways to Support the Black-Owned and Small Businesses Near You

Applicable to all small businesses, there are several ways customers—which may include friends and family of small business owners—can support the owner’s dreams and boost the local community and economy.

However you do it, whether it’s by word of mouth, sharing a post on social media, or for business owners—taking larger marketing initiatives, spreading the word about a product or service that can be of real use to potential customers is essential.

It can also be difficult to understand all the complexities of running a business. Funding, sourcing products, marketing, distribution, and customer service are all vital components in the equation. For many, knowing how to execute at each level can be a challenge. Fortunately, everyone has a bit of knowledge about one thing or another. It can be tremendously helpful to share a bit of insight or expertise—even if it’s just a quick tip—to help a business owner achieve their potential.

And lastly, small business owners would prefer you buy directly rather than using a third party, such as an online retailer. By selling directly to the customers, the owners can keep more of the profits, which can then be invested back into the business to make it even better for themselves and their customers. If the businesses you love and want to support have a storefront, visit it and shop there.

Supporting small businesses, including ones run by Black-business owners, creates a powerful force and culture for a community. A culture where everyone is helping each other grow is a successful environment for all kinds of businesses to thrive.


Kinsey Love is the Digital Marketing Manager at Altabank. She specializes in content creation and strategy and enjoys all activities you can do in the mountains.