Behind The Launch of Black Connect, A Business Resource

Marshawn K. Dickson (from Black Connect)
Photo: Marshawn K. Dickson (from Black Connect)

It is sometimes difficult for Black businesses to connect with one another to create business-to-business, B2B, opportunities. Founded in 2019 by Angela Majette and Marshawn K. Dickson, Black Connect, a membership organization, focuses on just that.

Black Connect is the charitable arm of, the only Black-owned business and social networking platform created to enable entrepreneurial activities and promote the socioeconomic growth and empowerment of the Black Community. It also offers much-needed legal counsel to its members.

Black Connect was born out of a personal need.

“It began with my own experience with entrepreneurship,” explains Majette. “When I started my business many years ago, I looked around for an organization modeled like Black Connect and couldn’t find one so creating what is now Black Connect was always in the back of my mind.”

Black activists, past and present, also inspired her.


Malcolm X was also an influence. Like leaders such as Malcolm X and Marcus Garvey, I believe that economic independence, achieved through business ownership, is the foundation of not only Black wealth, but also civil rights for Black Americans. I once had the honor and privilege of having a conversation with Brother Malcolm’s daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz, that had a profound impact on me,” she shares.

She adds, ”Then the death of Trayvon Martin, who was around the same age as my son, moved Black Connect from the back of my mind to the forefront. When my son called me one day while he was a student at Morehouse to tell me that he wanted to start a business, and he had all of these questions about business, I thought about all of the young people who don’t have a family member or close friend who they can call for guidance on starting a business and I knew it was finally time to start Black Connect.”

A national organization that is membership and chapter-based, Black Connect has local chapters in New York City, Tampa, and Tulsa.

Photo: Marshawn K. Dickson (from Black Connect)

“Unlike many organizations, BC members can join more than one local chapter.  So if you live in Tampa, Florida, but you want to get more customers in New York City, then you can join the Tampa Chapter and the NYC Chapter and participate in NYC meetings and activities virtually.  BC has seven different membership categories so that any person or entity anywhere in the world can join Black Connect at  You don’t have to be a business owner and you don’t have to be a Black person to join, you just have to support our mission. So everyone please join Black Connect,” says Majette.

Legal consultation is one of the services most requested by new businesses.

“I’m thrilled that the most requested service is legal services, specifically, assistance with business formation,” notes Majette. “I work in the legal field and I see first-hand that many of the legal issues that business owners find themselves faced with can be avoided or minimized with proper legal guidance from inception. So my goal was to develop a legal program that would help our members create a foundation for their business that would allow them to avoid costly mistakes and build sustainable businesses.”

Members can get advice on selecting the best type of structure for their particular business. On the advice of counsel, some members have changed from one formation to another. Members are also getting services and advice to protect and enforce their rights on issues related to contracts, trademarks, employment, and real estate.

Black Connect’s webinar on business formation and other legal topics are available at its Digital Learning Center on FeverPitch, its annual pitch competition, sponsored by Silicon Valley Bank, is also popular because members also need funding and exposure for their businesses.

Majette and Dickson did face challenges in starting Black Connect.

“I knew that getting genuine support and buy-in for Black Connect was going to be a struggle because economic independence and self-sufficiency for Black Americans are not ideals that America has historically embraced. Many Black Americans still believe that voting, integration and assimilation are the pathways to equality and justice,” Majette points out.

Funding became a major obstacle.

“I knew what I was up against from the outset so it came as no surprise that the biggest challenge in launching Black Connect was obtaining funding. It’s still a challenge because Black-led organizations continue to receive far less private donations and grant and foundation funding than white-led organizations,” says Majette. “Corporations and foundations continue to give money to organizations that are not Black-led to support Black-owned businesses.”

Funding is “fuel,” she emphasizes, and it remains a major obstacle to Black businesses’ growth to this day.

“Funding empowers and sustains organizations and non-profit organizations help sustain communities, so why would a white organization be given resources to support the Black community when there is a Black-led organization that is capable of serving its own community?” Majette asserts.

“It hurts a Black-led organization’s ability to hire a staff and fully engage in the work for which it is purposed but empowers the white organizations, which only perpetuates the problem with inequity and lack of access to funding. So the disparity in funding and the effect and consequences of those disparities that exist for Black entrepreneurs also exist for Black-led non-profits,” she asserts.

Why does Majette think Black Connect is vital?

“Despite promises of equity and inclusion that were made in 2020, less than 3 percent of venture capital flowed to Black entrepreneurs in 2021 so it is clearly imperative that we find alternative solutions to meeting our own business needs,” she points out.

Black Connect acts as a pipeline to the nationwide Black business community and essential business development tools.

“As a national organization, Black Connect tears down silos and serves as a hub for the Black business community while also allowing members to impact their respective communities through local chapters. All members are connected through our tools-based business and social network,” says Majette.

She adds, “The Black Connect entrepreneurial ecosystem includes the development of physical business centers around the country, as well as a virtual business incubator and accelerator powered by Black Connect is a platform where anyone who supports economic equity and inclusion can play a role in the economic progress of the Black community and closing the racial wealth gap in America.”

Black Connect will be focusing on raising funds to increase staffing. Plans also include expanding the Advisory Board and starting a national membership committee.

The organization has recorded nearly a dozen Black Connect podcast episodes that will be released this year. The podcast is community-based and produced by members who serve as hosts, producers, guests, and in other roles. Its content covers all aspects of the racial wealth gap and other topics important to the Black community.