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Jul 7, 201503:49 PMMinority Biz Report

with Sam Owens

#MadisonBlackBusinessesMatter

(page 1 of 2)

As you can probably imagine, when I first pitched the concept of Minority Biz Report to In Business magazine, my editors and I had to engage in some rather delicate negotiations about how to integrate my image and my ideas into their blog universe.

During my initial discussions with the magazine, I knew that I would be joining the team as not only its youngest blogger, but also as its only black contributor. Unless you’re an attention-seeker, or a masochist, very few people actually relish the thought of being the lone representative voice of a demographic. It’s a burden that is not for the timid or the fainthearted; then again, neither is entrepreneurship.

My pitch to the magazine was pretty straightforward: let’s look to increase reader engagement and diversity by telling a populistic story of black business in Madison. My editors and I agreed that the plight of the local black business was an tale worth telling. In particular, the tale that we were most eager to capture was that of the mortality rate of local black businesses. That narrative has been our metaphorical “white whale,” so to speak.

Thus, I began what I believed would be a pedestrian journey of writing the Madison chapter of the contemporary black business story. I figured that I could casually draw plot points from my personal experience, quickly piece together a monthly submission within a couple of hours, then segue back to my 70+ hour work-week. I imagined that if I just told my truths about the people, systems, and institutions that I found to be toxic, then the narrative of black business in Madison would essentially write itself.

However, the Minority Biz Report journey proved far more arduous than this protagonist ever anticipated — yielding increasingly more antagonism and/or indifference toward the concept that black businesses matter in Madison. “Disruption,” indeed. “Progress,” maybe. Was all of the sweat equity that I put into this blog really worth it?

My industry requires me to obsess over my utilization of time because, quite literally for me, time is money. Nevertheless, I found myself investing several hours per month in drafting and editing content, for the sake of making this subject matter more easily digestible to our average reader. Although I began this journey with a sincere interest in donating my time toward this awareness-building campaign, I soon realized that maybe I was the only person in Madison who actually believed that black businesses matter to our local economy.

(Continued)

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