Five national honors for supporting and growing Black business cap week of ByBlack Conference
Washington D.C. (Oct 20, 2021) — The U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC) has recognized the best in Black-owned business and corporate commitment to advancing Black business and the communities they anchor since 2009. This past Saturday, October 16, the 2021 USBC Awards Presentation was held at the MGM National Harbor as the closing event of the 2021 ByBlack Conference hosted in partnership by USBC and the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB,) and presented by American Express.
“It is important to acknowledge visionary leadership in assisting African American Chambers of Commerce, business organizations and our communities in their work of developing and growing Black enterprises,” said Ron Busby, Sr., President and CEO of USBC “This year’s honorees demonstrate exceptional business practices and impact on Black communities, and are an example of what resilience and ingenuity can look like for the next generation.”
This year’s five top honors and award recipients are as follows:
2021 Chamber of the Year: The Urban Chamber of Commerce
The recipient of this award joins a class of exceptional chamber leaders who unselfishly serve to grow and represent Black-owned businesses in their communities. Based in Las Vegas, NV, Iraq/Afghan war veteran and Urban Chamber President Ken Evans accepted the award.
2021 Corporation of the Year: American Express
Recognized for unprecedented commitments to support a diverse, equitable and inclusive marketplace and society. The corporation has committed to spending at least $750 million annually with diverse and Black-owned suppliers and providing access to capital and financial education to at least 250,000 Black-owned small and medium sized enterprises in the U.S. by the end of 2024. American Express also partnered with USBC to launch the expansion of the ByBlack directory and certification platform, in addition to supporting this year’s ByBlack Conference. Robert Childs, Executive Vice President, Office of Enterprise Inclusion Diversity & Business Engagement for American Express, accepted the award.
2021 Small Business of the Year: Ten-35, Sherman Wright, Managing Partner and COO
This award signifies that a company that has shown growth or sustainability of their business with strong employee relations and a record of giving back to the community. In addition, this year’s honoree, Sherman Wright, Managing Partner and COO of Ten-35, a leading creative company specializing in transforming brands through culture, has made it his mission to mentor and support other small businesses.
2021 Woman-Owned Business of the Year: Slutty Vegan, Pinky Cole, Owner and Operator
This recognition applauds a woman in business with vision, endurance, and passion. Pinky Cole not only sustained but grew the business in the middle of a pandemic. The official ambassador of vegan comfort food with a southern flair, her mission is to make us all healthier with a menu to help reduce the prevalence of heart disease and type 2 diabetes in the Black community. Slutty Vegan also helped carve a philanthropic path as the CEO is a voting rights advocate, supporter of women-owned businesses, and strives for civil rights in her community and across the nation.
2021 Aubrey L. Stone Advocate of the Year: U.S. Senator Ben Cardin and U.S. Congressman Al Green
Named for the USBC’s late founding chairman who is also affectionately considered ‘the Godfather of Black Chambers,’ this award honors leaders who advocate for policy changes that positively affect small businesses’ success. This year’s two awardees have demonstrated tireless efforts to support not only small business, but Black businesses, which is central to the mission of USBC. Each award was accepted virtually by U.S. Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland and U.S. Congressman Al Green representing the 9th Congressional District of Houston, Texas.
Hosted as a hybrid event with a limited number of attendees onsite at the MGM National Harbor and thousands of guests online, the 2021 ByBlack Conference aims to equip Black business leaders, entrepreneurs and allies with connections and tools to revive and grow operations on a post-shut down, but still pandemic-affected environment.
The USBC operates from five-pillars of service: Advocacy, Access to Capital, Contracting, Entrepreneur Training, and Chamber Development.
Interviews available with USBC president Ron Busby, Sr., and select awardees