When Jasper Kuria considers strategies for addressing racial inequity and social injustice in the U.S., he puts support of Black entrepreneurs at the top of the list.
“It’s really about wealth inequality and opportunities for the Black community,” said Kuria. “And when you think about the massive wealth gap between the Black community and the white folks, it’s really about business ownership.”
This fall Kuria launched Black Owned Business, a platform that connects Black-owned professional service providers with companies searching for talent. The Seattle-area startup has close to 80 vendors on the platform so far, covering technology, marketing and web design, consulting, finance and accounting, law and HR. He’s also working with SurveyMonkey to encourage companies to commit to considering Black-owned businesses when hiring outside vendors. Those pledging to do so include Intuit, Zoom and Slack.
While he’s off to a good start, Kuria’s effort could benefit from another Pacific Northwest-rooted initiative.
This month, nearly 60 business and nonprofit leaders from the Northwest — such as Microsoft, Boeing, Expedia, Nintendo, Zillow, Vulcan, PATH and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — signed on to a new coalition called Washington Employers for Racial Equity.
Black-owned businesses are being ravaged by COVID disproportionately to white-owned businesses. It’s put a spotlight on a much deeper problem.
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