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Black Businesses Are on The Rise Again

·3 min read

Black business is back!

Black business owners took a significant hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of Black-owned businesses fell by 40% in April 2020 — a steeper decline than any other ethnic or racial group. Black founders, though, are determined, fearless, and, above all else, resilient; the number of Black-owned businesses is now 30% higher than pre-pandemic levels.

Entrepreneurship continues to represent a viable path to wealth for many Black Americans. The median net worth for Black business owners is 12 times higher than that of Black non-business owners.

One particular man embodies that resilience. Following a 35-year career in Corporate America in roles spanning from product development to sales, John Marsh is preparing for a grand opening of ‘Pop that Pop Gourmet,’ a gourmet popcorn store in Chicago.

Mr. Marsh was one of many business owners impacted by the pandemic. Mr. Marsh weathered this disruption by pivoting to wholesale orders for two years before returning to his original plans for his storefront.

Mr. Marsh joined the recently formed UPS Ignite program, where he has enjoyed 12 months of access to The Lonely Entrepreneur Learning Community. Learn more about how you can apply below. Program features include:

– 24/7 access to entrepreneur community and networking.

– 500 plus on-demand learning modules, videos, and tools.

– Weekly group coaching.

– one-on-one coaching with business experts.

– Vendor reviews and discounts.

– 150 plus finance sources.

The UPS Ignite program promotes business growth through inclusiveness, equity, and diversity. By Marsh’s own account, the program has proved invaluable as he prepares for his grand opening.

“[The program] gives me opportunities to learn the nuances, what it takes to be successful in business,” he said.

“We also have weekly learning sessions on Friday … keeps me on my toes.”

Several program features have been particularly valuable to Mr. Marsh.

“I have really enjoyed the sections on digital marketing and the content on trademarking,” he said.

“My one-on-one coaching with [founder] Michael Dermer [has] helped. Michael graduated from Northwestern, so he knows how to speak Chicago.”

UPS Ignite Program participants can also apply for one of ten $10,000 grants. UPS has partnered with The Accion Opportunity Fund (AOF) to address the financial needs of underserved small businesses. AOF is a nonprofit lender supporting small businesses and advancing racial justice by providing reasonably priced loans, educational resources, coaching, and support networks.

Empowered by what he’s learned, Mr. Marsh and his partners have plans for two more storefront locations in Chicago. They plan to support the local economy by hiring community members. UPS is excited for the success of Mr. Marsh and countless other Black founders who are both intrinsic to and inspirations for their communities.

Neither the COVID-19 pandemic nor the comforts of a successful corporate career could keep John Marsh from pursuing his dream of opening his own business.

John Marsh is proudly unstoppable.

A note from UPS

UPS is looking for more founders for its next cohort.

– Sell amazing products?

– Are eager to learn from business coaches and logistics experts?

– Want to learn best practices on how to drive e-commerce sales?

Click here for more information about UPS Ignite.

Space is limited. Apply today!