We've all heard and read the staggering statistics about how many U.S. Black-owned businesses shuttered during the pandemic; how less than 1% of companies led by Black women receive VC funding; and that businesses majority-owned by Black or African American people accounted for only 3% of all U.S. companies in 2020. However, we seldom hear about the businesses that are somehow making it and building year-to-year in spite of the lack of outside capital and in spite of most people in the community not knowing they exist. These are daunting barriers of entry for small businesses, especially when current statistics have disclosed that more than 50% of ALL small businesses fail in their first year.
Well, there's a number of people with some great ideas who are trying to change this narrative, and one of these great ideas is The Sisterhood Sit-in Trolley Tour.
If you're in the Philadelphia area and you don't know about the two-hour tour that's been stopping by and supporting some of the city's Black women-owned shops and restaurants, then you're missing out on a unique experience that has been dubbed the "Rebel Ride!" This theme is paying homage to Rosa Parks and all of the women who made seemingly insurmountable sacrifices to help change the landscape of American transportation history and American History.
During the Sisterhood Trolley Tours, women of all backgrounds and cultures, and even a few good men too (I couldn't resist), have the opportunity to be exposed to small businesses owned and operated by Black women. This year's tour has been running every Saturday since February and because of its success, has now been extended through the end of April. The Rebel Riders not only get a chance to support these businesses, but also get the opportunity to engage with other women from various backgrounds. The tour is guided by the dynamic presence and voice of Sequoia "Starfire" Starre, who has taken the term "Master of Ceremony" to an entirely different level of hypeness, and whose flamboyant personality keeps the riders entertained and captivated.
The businesses that are stops on the current tour include Harriett's Bookshop, Ceramic Concept, French Toast Bites, Booker's Restaurant & Bar, Modest Transitions and Nyambi Naturals.