October is now well underway; meaning so is the 30 Days 30 Dollars Challenge. Created by Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses (GRABB), the 30 Days 30 Dollars Challenge aims to bring awareness and money to black-owned businesses in Grand Rapids throughout the month of October. GRABB is challenging residents of Grand Rapids to commit to shifting $30 of their monthly spending to black-owned businesses.
Jamiel Robinson, CEO and founder at GRABB, started the 30 Days 30 Dollars Challenge five years ago. “It just originated from the Forbes article a few years ago, naming Grand Rapids as the second worst place for African Americans economically,” Robinson said. “That’s based on self-employment rate, median income and homeownership rate. So this is an opportunity, in a way, to bring more awareness to black businesses in the community as well as to increase cash flow into the businesses throughout this challenge.”
According to the GRABB website, nearly 45 percent of the 40,000 African Americans in Grand Rapids live at or below the poverty level. Nationally, the current length of time dollars stay in black neighborhoods is six hours. This is why what GRABB calls #TheShift must take place.
“#TheShift is the reallocation of our dollars into our black-owned businesses and predominately black neighborhoods,” the website states. “It focuses on creating and distributing wealth to improve the average black family’s quality of life. #TheShift has to begin with us changing our spending habits. Thus, the 30 Days 30 Dollars Challenge was born.”
“The number one challenge for black businesses is access to capital,” Robinson said. “Whether it’s social, intellectual or financial capital, that’s the number one issue. This challenge helps them gain capital.”
Overall, the goal of the challenge is to bring awareness to the community of the different types of black-owned businesses that you might not have been aware of. “It just puts a spotlight on them,” Robinson said. “It just creates awareness. It’s kind of similar to the red car, as in you purchase a car, and all of a sudden you start seeing that car everywhere. So it just sort of puts black-owned businesses in the forefront of your mind.”
The challenge is also looking to create customers. “We’re hoping that the challenge translates into individuals finding businesses that they love and that they want to become customers of on a continuous basis, not just for the duration of the challenge,” Robinson said. “Hopefully, this helps individuals discover some new businesses to add to their typical places that they purchase services or products from.”
Although we are already a couple of weeks into October, Robinson said it’s never too late to start the challenge. As far as completing the challenge, he has some advice for those who may be feeling stuck or who are new to the challenge.
“Just think about what you already spend money on, and see if there is a black business option,” he said. “Or, if you’re interested in trying something new, from a cultural standpoint, that’s an option as well. Typically, you drive by places and you’ve always had a curiosity as to what the product was or what the service was. This is an excuse for you to try out new businesses and to be adventurous while supporting your community”
For more information about the 30 Days 30 Dollars Challenge, or for a list of black-owned businesses to spend your $30 at, visit the GRABB website.
*Photo courtesy of Forty Acres Soul Kitchen