Black business owner, Russell Austin, breaks down barriers in healthcare industry; advocates for better opportunities for African American youth

by Ahnia Ricks and Sterling Gilmore

There are two common misconceptions still coloring the perception of black owned businesses in the Chicagoland area: that there aren’t many around, and if they are, they’re either a restaurant, dance studio, or a hair salon. But the numbers tell a different story: Chicago is home to the highest concentration of black owned businesses in the nation, and the majority of black-owned businesses are not in the beauty, food service or dance industries. Most black business owners are apart of the healthcare industry.

In this story, Real Chi Youth reporters Ahnia Ricks and Sterling Gilmore, with contributions from City Bureau reporter Tonika Johnson, sat down with Lenore Lindsey, the owner of Give Me Some Sugah bakery, Russell Austin of Austin Family Dental, and Sheena  Baskerville of Dynamic Force Dance Studio, to discuss how black communities can become more aware of black-owned businesses, their impact on the community, and the keys to keeping them open for business.

Dr. Austin, Lenore, and Sheena informed us that the key to running a successful business not only involves the support of the community, but strong work ethic, networking skills, and the will to change the community for the better. Dr. Austin believes that black-owned businesses have a responsibility to serve their local communities while also encouraging youth to pursue careers in these fields.