India Rose spent many recent summers off-Island shuffling her son Kai to and from football camps. Between his equipment and her belongings, her hands were always full. She needed a bag that was both stylish and practical for a sports parent.

The idea for the bag led her to open Sideline, a sportswear store on Main street in Vineyard Haven, in November 2020. The bag is still being developed, but the business it spawned has given Ms. Rose a way to combine two things she loves.

“It was really tying in my passion for sports with my passion for business,” Ms. Rose said in a recent interview.

Ms. Rose, who graduated from the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, has become an advocate for black-owned businesses on the Island. Her efforts were recently recognized as part of the Black Excellence on the Hill ceremony, an event honoring black business leaders across the state as part of Black History Month.

She moved back to the Island in 2002 to raise her family. She developed a reputation for having a bank of knowledge about the Island’s black-owned businesses through her consulting and event planning work, she said. People often came to her asking for ways to support these businesses, so in 2019 she started the Martha’s Vineyard Black Owned Business Directory to formalize what had long been in her head. The online directory lists over 50 businesses, and last year became a print booklet.

Traffic to the directory took off in 2020 as people looked for ways to show solidarity with the black community after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Ms. Rose said. People all over the Island expressed gratitude for the resource, and told her it was long overdue.

“It really started out as a passion project for me,” Ms. Rose said. “I couldn’t believe how well it was received, I was so grateful.”

Sideline is also a way to further showcase the Island’s black-owned businesses, Ms. Rose said. During the summer she puts on events at the store for seasonal and year-round artists, musicians and writers of color. On top of highlighting the Island’s diversity, the events are also a way to bring people together.

“[I’m] creating a welcoming environment that makes people feel good and want to chat and network, and it’s a great way to make friends,” she said. “You just never know what kind of friendships, relationships, business partnerships that could just come out of treating people well and having conversations.”

Access to funding is the biggest challenge for any small business, particularly black-owned ones, Ms. Rose said. Shortly before opening Sideline Ms. Rose started Thriving Inc., a nonprofit aimed at breaking down financial barriers by providing mini-grants to small businesses in order to help them grow.

“You get to a particular point where even if you’re doing well, you may not have enough funding to take it to the next level . . . so you might end up stagnant,” she said. “[It’s about] getting a seat at the table.”