As the co-founder of Green Book of Tampa Bay, an online guide to Black-owned businesses, Joshua Bean is pretty busy these days, but one thing he doesn't lack is motivation. Bean, who is also an educator at Pinellas County Schools, is driven by his lifelong passion for social justice and equality. Alongside Green Book co-founder Hillary Van Dyke, he's working tirelessly to make sure Black-owned businesses get the attention they deserve. And with the goal of expanding beyond Tampa Bay, there's plenty more work to be done. “We’re not in this to get wealthy,” he said. “We just want to bring equity to the Black community.”
Years in St. Pete
Organizations involved in
I’m co-chair of social justice committee with Temple Beth-El.
What gets you out of bed every day?
My two beautiful girls and my wife. First and foremost, I want to create a better world for my girls to grow up in but social justice has always been a passion of mine. I’m a social worker, I have my Master’s in social work, so it’s always been kind of ingrained in me, and trying to do more to help my community really motivates me like no other.
Why St. Pete?
What is one habit that you keep?
I’m very organized and structured and I think that’s definitely a benefit when creating a business and wanting everything to be just right. Being a perfectionist is both a blessing and a curse.
Who are some people that influence you?
With the Green Book, definitely rapper and activist Killer Mike. He has a show called Trigger Warning and in episode one, he’s trying to survive off Black-owned businesses for three days, and that episode and his work, his movement and his voice has really been a huge catalyst in what we do. Also, there are a few authors Hillary and and I love to read like Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, and Ta-Nehisi Coates. Their work has been just monumental and a huge motivating force for us.
What is one piece of insight - a book, methodology, practice - that you would share with our readers?
People always remind us that when you’re starting a business or any venture or initiative, it’s a marathon and not a sprint. And I know it’s an easy piece of advice, but we always remind ourselves we’re in this for the long game, and sometimes because of those perfectionist tendencies and wanting to overachieve, we expect things to happen overnight when in reality it’s not possible.
What is one thing you wish you knew about your work 3 years ago?
It’s definitely not easy and I knew it wasn’t going to be. On a positive note, I didn’t realize how much the community was going to be supportive, but we’ve had so many great collaborations and so much outreach from key players and change agents in our community. Sometimes there’s the perception that people don’t work well together in St. Pete, or in any small community, and we’re a prime example of how that’s not true. Collaborations got us to where we are and we’re really grateful. It’s been nothing but love from people in St. Petersburg in regard to what we’re doing.
Our website is growing every day. We’re trying to just constantly build our brand, update our website and just really improve economic vitality, specifically in the Black community. Our long-term, really idealistic goal is to be Green Book of Florida or maybe even Green Book of the United States, but right now we’re just trying to lock down Hillsborough and Pinellas County and do it right before we expand.