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Black Ownership Bus Tour comes to Northwest Arkansas

A black-ownership bus tour made its way to the area, learning about black-owned businesses across 5Country and sharing the importance of support.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — For the second year in a row, 'Remix Ideas' hosted the Black Ownership Movement Bus Tour, last fall the organization visited the delta region, and this year they toured Northwest Arkansas.

Five Black-owned businesses in Fayetteville pitched their ideas to judges and the community for a chance to win $5,000.

“Our focus really is to democratize entrepreneurship. So Black entrepreneurs can have access to capital, access to knowledge, and access to the market,” said Benito Lubazibwa.

In a post-pandemic era, Black-owned businesses say they're trying to get back on their feet again financially in order to gain equal opportunities. 

“There’s a big issue when it comes to black entrepreneurs in terms of scaling. in the united states, we have more than 3 million owned businesses, but only 4% have employees, they are not growing, that’s a major issue,” Lubazibwa explained.

The main challenges these businesses at this contest are facing are financial and staffing shortages. 

"My greatest challenge is financing, these other businesses get up here and talk about how [the money] came out of their pockets… that’s really what’s happening,” said Founder of My-T-By-Design, Lakeisha Bradley.

Although all of these businesses benefit the community, there can only be one winner. Tuesday night's winner was the nonprofit organization, Secondhand Smoke.

Secondhand Smoke owner Nate Walls says he plans to use the money to enhance the organization and help the community. 

“We’re going to continue to go and feed underserved communities and just see how people are doing, but we want to grow a little bit. We’re always wanting to grow and get better and invite other people to volunteer, and just get in there with us, get in the fight with us… it’s a food fight out there," said Walls. 

The bus tour will continue its schedule across Arkansas:

  • Wednesday, March 29 - Bentonville and Rogers
  • Thursday, March 30 - Fort Smith
  • Friday, March 31  - Little Rock. 

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