THE INTERNATIONAL BLACK BUSINESS MUSEUM
The International Black Business Museum is the first and only museum in the world whose mission is to preserve the history and honor the contributions of Black entrepreneurs and inventors in the United States and other countries of the world.
This museum will serve as the only comprehensive public testament to the
ingenuity, brilliance, hard work, and business acumen that these entrepreneurs and inventors used to promote and sustain economic development.
In spite of their tremendous talent and ingenuity, the story of Black-owned
businesses and inventors is still very much an untold story even in the 21st century.
Many people do not know about the vast range of products and services that they have provided, the inventions they created, the strategies they used, and their roles in promoting the attainment of economic independence.
The exhibits in the museum will provide stories and narratives that explain and chronicle the black business experience in America and the world.
Our vision is to make this information accessible to a global audience to celebrate
and honor their entrepreneurial spirt, creativity, and innovation.
Towards that end, the IBBM will establish the International Black Business Hall
of Fame Induction Ceremony and Gala in which black entrepreneurs and
inventors in the USA and globally will be inducted every two years based on
criteria established by the President and the International Board of Directors.
We will honor several categories of entrepreneurs:
(1) Classic entrepreneurs who often started their businesses from scratch or with assistance from others and moved forward with a strong work ethic and the ability to take risks to provide important products and services to enhance the economic marketplace;
(2) Individuals who pursued careers in various sectors of society and when they achieved success in those areas, they used their existing platforms to start businesses and enhance entrepreneurial development processes;
(3) Individuals who provide leadership in corporate America but may not necessarily own the business enterprises that they lead, although they are instrumental in creating new ways to embrace entrepreneurial thinking or a mindset that supports capitalist development and economic expansion.
(4) We will also pay homage to inventors, who through the innovative products and processes that they created, have greatly elevated the standards of living of people at the local, national, and international levels of analysis.
(5) The IBBM will also pay tribute to black-owned banks and other ancillary organizations that have promoted the attainment of self-reliance and have established strategies to promote economic empowerment of the Black community.
(6) We will also honor scholars and researchers whose academic work has helped us to document the tremendous record of black business achievement locally, nationally, and globally.
The creation of the International Black Business Museum is very much connected
to more than 20 years of research performed by Dr. Bessie House-Soremekun on
Black entrepreneurs in the United States and Africa. It is also connected to the
things that she has gleaned through the creation of six entrepreneurial centers over
this same time period.
The idea of having an entity known as the International Black Business Museum
was the result of an epiphany that she experienced in early July of 2019 when she
was driving her vehicle in the city of Cleveland. She envisioned the possibility of
creating an entity that would be responsible for bringing together the artifacts,
inventions, historical records and materials of Black entrepreneurs in a significant
physical space to document their tremendous contributions in economic
Upon reaching her home, she sat down at her desk and sketched out her ideas on a
sheet of paper. On July 10, 2019, she acquired the assistance of a college student at
the Aldersgate United Methodist Church to help develop a graphic depiction of
what the structure of the museum would look like. On this same day, she typed up
a four-page conceptual summary with a high level of specificity about what the
museum would actually encompass.
Upon the completion of the concept paper and the formatting of the document, she
circulated it to a few family members, academic scholars, entrepreneurs, and
community leaders to acquire their feedback on the feasibility of pursuing this
project. She was delighted to find that all of them wholeheartedly supported the
idea. Those original individuals became part of a working group that met via
conference calls every two weeks during the summer months to discuss the
concept paper and to further refine the ideas that were written in it.
These discussions focused on what the entity should be called, where the museum
should be located, as well as first steps that should be taken to continue the high
level of enthusiasm that was evident and to help the group to maintain its
momentum. The members of the working group eventually became the first
members of the International Board of Directors. The IBBM was established as a
501-3 non-profit organization in August of 2019 and she applied for a copyright of
the concept paper with the U.S. Copyright Office.