During the first three months of the pandemic, approximately 442,000 – or 41 percent – of Black businesses shuttered. As COVID continues to hamper progress, the overall decline of small and minority-owned firms remains striking.
Data culled from multiple studies revealed that Latinx business owners fell by 32 percent and Asian business owners dropped by 26 percent. Meanwhile, the number of white business owners fell by 17 percent.
While the current climate has exacerbated the wealth gap and unveiled the unimagined financial straits of Black and other minority companies, studies also revealed that about 58 percent of African American-owned businesses were at risk of fiscal distress even before the outbreak of the pandemic in February 2020.
“There’s no question it has been a challenge,” said Ron Busby, the president and CEO of the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. in Northwest, Washington, D.C.
“Last year was a difficult time for the majority of businesses in America with COVID, the murder of George Floyd, and the Stimulus Package – or lack thereof, in our community,” said Busby, who visited the new state-of-the-art television studios of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) for an appearance on PBS-TV’s “The Chavis Chronicles.” NPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. hosts the nationally televised program.
“When you talk to Black business owners, very few received any stimulus money,” Busby continued. “We lost 41 percent of Black businesses, and many of them will never re-open, and many of those firms had employees, vendors, and customers.”