Black businesses growing in Georgia - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Black businesses growing in Georgia

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - One of the fastest growing segments of our economy is businesses owned by African Americans.  Nationwide, Black owned businesses increased more than 60 percent in the last five years.  

And Georgia ranks near the top in the number of those businesses.  At Images Barber shop in Albany, you can talk sports while getting a stylish new do.  

"When I first started cutting hair, there weren't that many barber shops, now they're all over," said owner Wendell Jackson.

Particularly, black owned barber shops.   Jackson thinks more access to education has led to a boost in black owned business.

Jackson said, "Everybody's going to school and getting an education now and I think we're having more opportunities to be in business for ourselves."

That's what happened for his business partner Ethel Jones.  Working for someone else wasn't working for her, so she decided to go back to school.  She said, "I decided I needed to do something I liked to do, and hair is what I like doing."

She says education is empowering and that's why, she too, believes more black businesses are showing up and staying successful.  Jones said, "They're equipped to go out and work on their own." And there are more programs available for people wanting to go into business to teach them how to get started.

Plus, Jackson says, some of the barriers that once existed for African Americans are no longer there.  He said, "I think we've come a long way because like I said, doors and opportunities have been open and we're just going through the doors now and putting our best foot first."  And take advantage of the opportunities available. 

The city of Albany oversees a federal program which helps all small businesses get off the ground.They offer Economic development loans, façade improvements and access to a business incubator at the microbusiness enterprise center.

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