By Aaron Allen, The Seattle Medium
Porscha Drummer, owner of Elementals Healing Boutique in the Seattle’s Central District, cannot be grateful enough for the guidance and help provided by Black Dot, a connectivity and communal space for creatives, entrepreneurs, technologists and community builders of the African diaspora.
Black Dot is awesome,” says Drummer. “They are very rooted in the community, and they are all about helping Black businesses and helping the community come together. They provide us with a lot of resources and information.”
Launched in 2015, Black Dot was originally located at the iconic corner of 23rd and union in Seattle for two years. In 2017, Black Dot was displaced due to the pending redevelopment of the Midtown Center and relocated to their present location on 16th and Jackson.
According to their website, Black Dot 2.0 (the underground edition) is a larger facility and provides more resources than their previous space. Future plans for Black Dot include expanding and relocating to the former Fire Station 6 building on 23rd and Yesler, where they can provide more resources and better facilities for their members and community.
Curtis Calhoun, the community manager at Black Dot Underground, says that the origin of Black Dot and its vital purpose is renovating the Black business mindsets.
“Black Dot was started about 9 years ago at a pitch competition,” says Calhoun. “It was originally launched in 2015 on 23rd and Union as a space for people in the tech industry, creatives and business development to support the needs of those three industries and the people who are functioning in them.”
Drummer began her business in February of 2022 as a startup providing Holistic wellness services such as herbal products, candles, body essentials, soaps and sage. In addition, she offered other services like chakra balancing, Yoni steaming and infrared chromotherapy – the process of restoring balance to the body by applying color.
“For me, it all started as a hobby and then turned into a passion,” says Drummer. “I was doing a lot of vending and marketing at the Black Dot events and that’s what got me out there. Then I decided I wanted to open up a store. I took up all the steps needed to open up my store, and I came to them for a lot of advice.”
One of the foundational pillars of Black Dot is their Entrepreneur Academy – a 15-week training curriculum for startups and entrepreneur minded individuals that was launched last year.
“Black Dot is not just the physical space,” says Calhoun. “It’s the space of being Black in business and entrepreneurship. Being Black people in these industries we have unique needs that other groups may not have, and we want to offer that safe space that people can come and get some answers, share their stories, and get the exact support they need without having to jump through special hoops or be denied because of those things.”
“So yeah, it’s not just a physical space but space, in general, in the space of entrepreneurship,” Calhoun reiterates.
As Black Dot has evolved a convergence of services sprung from their experiences as not only providing an ecosystem, but also the organization has merged into business development and training where they focus on technical assistance. In some cases, they offer resources themselves as well as outsourcing as industry experts volunteer their time and effort, developing a network that they can refer people to for resources or technical assistance.
“We need more successful Black entrepreneurs,” says Calhoun. “Without places that focus on the success of small businesses and entrepreneurship, and without these support systems these businesses or entrepreneurs would not exist.”
“Really, what we do is we create an opportunity for them not only to exist but to thrive,” he added.
“If I need anything I know that I can always go to Black Dot,” says Drummer. “Their doors are always open; they are very welcoming. For example, I went to a credit brunch where they spoke about credit and what do you know Black Dot was hosting it. This is such a great idea; it is much needed, and I am glad that they are there to help us.”
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