That it took a crowd-sourced campaign to save their livelihood — as trillions of dollars were coursing through the economy through federal relief efforts — underscored a reality faced by many Black-owned small businesses through the current crisis.
From lack of relationships to banks, to minimal or less than pristine credit histories, to something as simple as the size and structure of their businesses, Black-owned small businesses faced built-in structural disadvantages, according to lawmakers, advocates, government officials and business owners.
The requirement that lenders prioritize borrowers from underserved markets wasn’t heed in the initial round of funding for the massive government program, according to the Small Business Administration’s inspector general.
“A lot of it has to do with who has a seat at the table, and who we think about in terms of who are the business owners that you know are at risk of closing doors,” Qubilah Huddleston, a policy analyst at DC Fiscal Policy Institute who has written on the program.
Doni Crawford, who works with Huddleston at the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, said the greatest concern right now is that businesses who have for decades been central to the fabric of Black communities, simply won’t be there when the pandemic is contained.