Meet Zaire J.M. Gary – the Founder, President, and CEO of Black Certification Agency & Company! Zaire was born and raised in South Carolina, grew up in Tennessee, and is currently living and learning in Atlanta, GA. The Black Certification Agency & Company manages the Black Certification Racial Equity Standard Framework, and is a 4 part system that tracks, assesses, validates, and empowers corporate DE&I policies, initiatives, and commitments – with a specific focus on Black and African Americans.
“We were inspired and motivated to develop this business because of the S&P 500 companies; two-thirds of them made supportive statements after the death of George Floyd, 36% made financial contributions to racial justice organizations and 14% said Black Lives Matter publicly. (source: As You Sow, California based shareholder advocacy group). We saw a couple of issues with this. A: 400 years of systemic racism cannot be fixed by simple, one time financial contributions, they cannot just throw money at the problem. Nor does money change attitudes and/or representation or inclusion. B: For most Black Americans these things mean nothing without real, tangible, and visible change. Without that these initiatives and policies are just performative public relations and simple marketing tactics. C. We realized the only way we ensure change is happening is if we (Black Americans acting independently) have a hand in the process. So we started developing Black Certification last summer. “
As a male business owner, Zaire says that his biggest challenge was gaining an audience. He stated that he wanted a hand in the things that majority owned companies were doing, with his certifications being directed towards them. Zaire says that access was the biggest challenge, as most companies that he work with do not want to listen to a young black male. However for Zaire, being extremely well researched, having mentors, advisor, and most importantly having God – has helped him become a successful business owner.
Although Zaire says that starting a business was not fun, he learned that being passionate is a requirement, and thinks that most entrepreneurs know that it’s fun maybe once every two weeks – sometimes longer at times. The Black Certification Agency & Company has achieved many accomplishments within its first year of business, which Zaire says he is so very proud of. The accomplishments consist of receiving over 10k in grants, being endorsed by Atlanta City Council Member Michael Julian Bond, being accepted into an accelerator program at the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship, and being accepted into a Forbes networking cohort: For(bes) the Culture.
If you are a new male entrepreneur, Zaire has the following advice,
“Be serious. Don’t treat it like a side hustle. When you get serious about your business your business will become very serious. The more serious you are, the more serious it will be. As long as you keep God first in everything you do, you’ll win.”
You can support The Black Certification Agency & Company by helping them gain consumer brand awareness and staying socially connected via:
Stay tuned with The Black Certification Agency & Company, as they are currently working towards their first funding round, where they will be seeking enough capital rather through grants or investment, to build the Black Certification Racial Equity Framework online software!
Also, be sure to connect with Zaire as he says the following,
“We are looking for all members of the DE&I industry to assist with implementing our standards within the corporate community as the industry standard. We need you guys to recommend our certification be utilized to assist companies tackling their Black and people of color DE&I focus. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com with your name and/or position.“