In July, Tiffany Blackman’s shop–Bread & Basket–will celebrate its second anniversary beating the odds, but not the financial uncertainty that disproportionately impacts many Black women-owned businesses.
“I have debt,” she says. “The store requires inventory. That’s one of the pieces as a small business owner and black business owner that I struggle with. Blackman turned to “bootstrapping” to get her business going, after the credit union where she worked wouldn’t give her a loan. ” I was trying to find access to capital, but the credit union I work with said that anything that had to do with loans for small businesses, they’d have to see two years of financials. That meant getting no access to any capital for two years. I’ve got almost six months more of banking until I can request a loan.”
Blackman envisioned her store, in downtown Battle Creek, as filling a gap in the market, keeping people shopping in Battle Creek, and keeping their money here too. But she also saw another gap, and that was in Black women and other entrepreneurs of color. She shares her knowledge and experience, now as a Business Coach with Northern Initiatives, which offers free services including access to a business coach like Blackman and training on finances, marketing, and management.
Click here to read about Blackman and other Black women entrepreneurs making their mark on Battle Creek in this Second Wave Southwest Michigan article.