Black Entrepreneurs Matter
June 11, 2020
Black Entrepreneurs Matter
As the CEO of a media company, I spend a lot of time talking with employees about our business and sometimes working through personal issues that may or may not be work-related. In the 12 years I have been running a business I have directly or indirectly managed hundreds of people - mostly young professionals. I have dealt with a lot of issues, to say the least. I have never dealt with anything like this before.
Let me just say, it is utterly horrific what happened to George Floyd. He is the lightning rod for change amongst thousands of unarmed African Americans who have lost their lives at the hands of a system that has failed them.
My company's driving mission doesn't have much to do with civil or social issues. We exist to distribute light-hearted, funny content. I think there's nobility in giving people a respite during heavy times by making them smile. I've never perceived myself as an activist or social or political commentator so I have historically chosen to stay silent on politically-charged civil matters. However, as a business leader, I believe we have a responsibility to say something and take a stance backing Black Lives Matter.
I also believe actions are more powerful than words, so instead of making a generic statement about where we stand, Atmosphere is taking action; an action that can truly move the needle in improving and healing this country by supporting African American entrepreneurs.
We are making a pledge to donate $1,000,000 worth of free advertising to help organizations whose mission is to assist and elevate African American entrepreneurs to fulfill their entrepreneurial dreams and start their own business. We want to help create a flywheel for these businesses to thrive and multiply. We are also giving away Atmosphere Pro for free to any US-based African American run business.
More African American-owned businesses will lead to more employment. It will lead to more people of color in leadership positions to look up to.
African Americans make up roughly 30% of the US population, yet less than 10% of independently-owned businesses are African American run. There are a handful of reasons for this discrepancy, but one of the largest hurdles is the lack of access to capital, the know-how to get the business off the ground and mentorship to build and scale. We all have good ideas but it's a whole other ballgame getting those ideas funded and bringing them to life.
So how specifically can we help?
Atmosphere is the leading streaming TV service for businesses playing in thousands of venues on over 50,000 TV screens reaching 20 million people per month. We will be producing and running free commercials for these organizations on all Atmosphere channels on a regular basis. This exposure will hopefully bring awareness to African American entrepreneurship and inspire people to start their own business and hopefully help get them recognized and funded.
My name is Leo Resig and I'm a caucasian entrepreneur. My happiness and satisfaction in life come from my family, friends, and building businesses. I want every African American with a great idea, great values, and a strong work ethic to have the same opportunity as I did to succeed. We are now perched on a tenuous cusp of history, a time where the world feels dim and uncertain. But uncertainty is always a precursor to sweeping change. With the forces of creativity and our audience reach we have here at Atmosphere are harnessed for the greater good, we can do our part to begin sweeping away the darkness. We will be a light.