I am happy that many of us are returning to normal. But I cannot say we are out of the woods. Not only has the world lost thousands of individuals, but entire industries have shifted gears altogether. Not only that, black-owned businesses closed twice as fast as their other constituents. According to CNBC, "Black-owned businesses declined by 41% between February and April 2020, compared with a 17% decline among White-owned businesses."
As a Black Woman, I decided to be a first responder for small business owners. In 2020, I joined associations like Small Business Strong and SCORE (BOSTON) to help small business owners navigate these challenging times. In addition to this, I loved seeing the nation come together to support Black-Owned Businesses. Media outlets like the Boston Globe showed their support with articles that featured local businesses. In all of this civility, I realize there are 3 Challenges we will have to overcome to persist in the second half of 2021.
Access to Mentorship and Support
In their report, Black Women Business Startups, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City highlighted that Black Women have insurmountable challenges as new business owners. Lack of access to the capital to keep businesses afloat, referral networking groups, and more can stagnate the sustainability of a new business. After speaking to hundreds of Black Women, it has come to mind that there are legal, financial, and technological concerns that business owners need answers to.
The Urban League reported that only 2% of Black-owned businesses received the PPP resources. In addition to this, 16 Black small business owners received PPP loans when the pandemic began. Organizations like BECMA and others have since processed more of these applications. It is not enough. Black Women Business Owners will need to find creative ways to share their services, products, and experiences with those who need them.
Need to Get Seen and Heard
Let's face it, millions of people find their solutions online. The old days of having a STATIC website are not enough. In contrast, posting random social media posts and going live every day is not the solution to build WOM. That is why I created the International Women Build Confidence Conference (TM) Summer Speaker Series. For black-owned businesses to move forward, there have to be platforms where they are seen and heard.
The #IWBCC summer speaker series is sponsored by Turning On the Lights Global Institute. With so much interest, we will extend this series into the year. All business owners are encouraged to learn more.
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Turning On the Lights Global Institute
Dr. Allana Da Graca is the founder of Turning on the Lights Global Institute. TOLGI helps individuals reach personal and professional goals through digital courses, coaching, and #IWBCC™ events. Email us firstname.lastname@example.org