Minority-owned businesses clamor for government grants

Washington DC

Pandemic 'has drastically impacted business owners of color'

WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — In both health and jobs, COVID-19 has impacted minorities disproportionately. A full 10% of minority-owned businesses who participated in a recent survey said they expect to shut down permanently.

The pandemic “has drastically impacted business owners of color,” said Rhett Buttle, the founder of Public Private Strategies. They partnered with other organizations to conduct a national survey on how the pandemic has impacted minority-owned small businesses.

“More than half the respondents have experienced revenue declines of more than 25%,” Buttle said.

Minority-owned businesses were already facing challenges but the pandemic brought them to light and made them worse in, for example, difficulties accessing loans. So minority-owned businesses have a harder time navigating red tape for aid programs like the PPP.

“We don’t own yachts, we don’t have vacation homes. This is how we survive and this is how we live,” said small business owner Shaundell Newsome. “Most of the time we’re first-generation businesses, so we don’t have the lineage and the relationships with bankers that most people have.”

Newsome and other advocates say real help could come from government grants aimed at helping minority-owned small businesses.

“We bail out oil industries, we bail out car industry – auto industry and all that, which is great, we’re not against that,” Newsome said. “But it needs to be a thought that we’re going to bail out the job creators.”

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