Black Business Past, Present and Future

February 13, 2023 | By

Tivi Jones

This story is adapted from the BWSF e-newsletter. To stay updated on The Black Wall Street Forward initiative and the various opportunities to get involved with the initiative, subscribe to the newsletter!



Changing the Narrative for Black Businesses

Forward Cities in partnership with the Truist Foundation, launched our Black Wall Street Forward (BWSF) pilot program in North Carolina late last year. Here’s what we’ve been up to since…
Watch Our Video Overview

Join the Movement

We change the narrative for Black Businesses when we collectively work to share, post and celebrate positive stories, features and articles that reinforce the strength, power and success of our entrepreneurs. Our Black Wall Street Forward Instagram account is full of these positive stories. Join our Instagram community and join the conversation!
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Storytelling Highlights

Looking to the Past 

To catalyze this narrative change in North Carolina and honor past and existing efforts of the Black Wall Street legacy, we look to the pillars of success from Durham’s historic Black Wall Street. Learn about these pillars.
Leveraging the Present

As a part of the BWSF initiative, in each participating community, we’re excited to introduce our 5 Ecosystem Builders in Residence who are leading our work and councils in Durham, Charlotte, Fayetteville, Raleigh, and Winston-Salem.
Building Our Future

STAT: 6,393 more Black businesses in Raleigh. 20,739 new jobs in Charlotte. Increase in total pay by approximately $23,188,208 in Fayetteville. These are just a few ways NC would change if Black businesses reached parity with all businesses

Our Black Wall Street Forward Pillars

There are 6 pillars of success from Durham’s historical Black Wall Street. Learn about the first 2 below.
 The first and most vital pillar of the Black Wall Street Forward initiative is “Collaborative Black leadership and innovation.” With our EBIRs and community leaders, we explored the history of Durham’s Black Wall Street, discussed its impact, and leveraged these new understandings to envision the future Black-centric collaborative action and innovation in our communities. 
Watch Video
 The second pillar of the Black Wall Street Forward initiative is “A Culturally-rooted Geographic Business Hub.” Explore how Durham’s Black Wall Street created a density of business and networking activities for Black people in the Parrish street and Hayti communities of the early 1900s AND how our EBIRs see opportunities for us to pull that forward today!
Watch Video

Through the generous support of the Truist Foundation we are able to do this work across North Carolina. We hope to collaboratively shape a sustainable model for the future of thriving, equitably invested, and self-determined Black-centric entrepreneurial communities that support high quality, competitive businesses.

Our BWSF Communities

We’re working deeply in 5 communities in NC to change the narrative of Black businesses. Each city is developing pilot projects to catalyze Black enterprise in their areas. Learn more about each pilot program below.


The BWSF Charlotte Council pilot —“Ubuntu, Legacy, Growth”— focuses on creating an impact report about the landscape of the Charlotte business ecosystem for Black enterprises and how this affects the mental health of the entrepreneur.

Learn more about BWSF-Charlotte
Learn about their upcoming event


The Durham pilot features “Black Wall Street Mindset” an interactive event with incredible speakers and entrepreneurs in an environment conducive to collaboration and the creation of a Black-focused community hub located in the heart of Durham, NC.

Learn more about BWSF-Durham
Make a contribution to BWSF-Durham


The Fayetteville pilot, “Black Business Connect,” is an innovative expo to bring the black business community together through informative workshops, panels, speakers, networking, food and music. Their pilot will also include a Black Artist Forum.

Learn more about BWSF-Fayetteville
Make a contribution to BWSF-Fayetteville


 The BWSF Raleigh pilot is a two-parter including, a Small Business Success Academy, a 4.5-day program to support business growth through client acquisition and access to capital, and a BWSF comprehensive directory of Black small business owners in North Carolina.

Learn more about BWSF-Raleigh
Make a contribution to BWSF-Raleigh


In Winston-Salem, the team is working on a presentation on then/now/future for city officials, philanthropic individuals, and entrepreneurs - to shape Black Wall Street and a comprehensive annual city wide campaign called the “Black Wall Street Experience (BWSX)

Learn more about BWSF-Winston-Salem
Make a contribution to BWSF-Winston-Salem


We can’t do this work without the support of our communities. Know any aspiring entrepreneurs, existing business owners, or professionals working to support Black businesses thrive in North Carolina? If so, please consider forwarding this email to them.
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