COVID-19 Impact Report: What Black Business Owners Need Right Now

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[Black Business\COVID-19]
Hello Alice Report: "Early reports estimate that more than 40% of Black-owned businesses will be shuttered due to COVID-19."
Photo: YouTube

Early reports estimate that more than 40% of Black-owned businesses will be shuttered due to COVID-19.

What are the challenges these owners are facing, and how can we all help? That's one of the key drivers of a new Hello Alice report titled "The Impact of COVID-19 on Black Business Owners."

This document is part of a series built on a growing dataset gathered from more than 100,000 applications to our COVID-19 Business for All Emergency Grant program. To date, 28,995 of those are from Black business owners primarily spread across the Professional Business Services, Beauty/Self-Care, Healthcare/Wellness, and Consumer Goods/Retail/E-commerce sectors (with a handful of others represented). Roughly 69% of this demographic identifies as women.

What did these business owners have to say? Key takeaways include:

  • 65% of Black entrepreneurs said they were most impacted by reduced sales due to social distancing.
  • 77% said they need emergency grants immediately, with 34% reporting that $10-25k grants would mean business survival after COVID-19.
  • 36% of Black owners reported difficulty securing capital or finding a loan.

The report also includes qualitative data, showcasing the individual stories of entrepreneurs. In their own words, Black business owners have told us that access to capital is their number one need right now.

Finally, we gathered input from our partners at Black & Brown Founders and DivInc to put the data in a larger context. As Deldelp Medina and Aniyia L. Williams of Black & Brown Founders write in the report's opening letter: "Data is not only needed but essential to supporting business creation and success. It gives institutions accountability metrics to measure progress and make lasting structural changes. It allows us to redefine expectations, instead of leaning on antiquated assumptions that were not created for us and set us up for failure."

Action Plan: How We're Using this Report

This kind of data is a key part of Hello Alice's support for the New Majority of small business owners. And that's why, with the generous support of Visible, UBS, and Stacy's Rise Project we've allocated a portion of emergency grant funding specifically for Black-owned businesses. Hello Alice has also launched a Black-Owned Business Resource Center to compile resources, how-to guides, and a growing directory of Black-owned businesses from across the United States.

Finally, Hello Alice recommends the following actions based on our data:

(1) More loans and grants. Black business owners overwhelmingly requested access to funding in amounts between $10,000–$50,000.

(2) Extend government programs. Demand for rent relief, tax deferrals, and tax waivers was a common theme.

(3) Targeted outreach. It’s not enough to express support; industry-specific groups must actively reach out and include Black owners in their networks.

(4) Engage with the following organizations: DivInc, digitalundivided, and Black & Brown Founders.

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