Starting a business is hard enough, but black entrepreneurs can face additional challenges, biases and obstacles that their white counterparts do not, including higher interest rates and potential discrimination at traditional banks and lending companies.
“You ask any small business owner, they would say access to capital is their number one concern. But if you ask an African-American, they’ll say their top one, two and three concerns are access to capital,” Ron Busby, president and CEO of U.S. Black Chambers (USBC), says.
Busby says it is common for black entrepreneurs to be held to a higher standard when applying for business funding, with lenders requiring higher credit scores from black people than white people. And when they do get loans, often the rates can be much higher than for white-owned businesses, he says.
In a USBC statement put out earlier this year, Busby points to the story of Freddie Lee James Jr., a St. Louis, Missouri entrepreneur who was denied a business loan from a bank even though he had a credit score of around 750 and his product —homemade barbecue sauce — generated about $200,000 in profits and was sold in 1,000 stores, including major retailers like Home Goods and Hy-Vee.
Resources for Black Entrepreneurs:
USBC’s Small Business Financial Education Program
The USBC’s 6 week Small Business Financial Education Program helps Black business owners prepare for loans, contracts, and business opportunities.
Experienced trainers and business coaches will provide participants with step-by-step instructions to help business owners prepare for business funding.
Participants can expect:
• At the end of the program, participants can pitch USBC’s corporate and government partners
• Access to USBC’s banking partners, supplier diversity companies, government agencies and subject matter experts in marketing, finance and leadership
• Access to USBC as a resource for capital access and procurement opportunities
Attend an 8-week experience providing Black and Latinx entrepreneurs with an opportunity to access the best of Goldman Sachs – from industry experts to influential networks – while building relationships with investors.
USBC recently launched a new micro grant and loan program to help Black-owned businesses in the Gulf region including: Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana with funding that alleviates the impact of previous storms and weather disasters that have impacted business operations. Sponsored by BP, this program enables small firms to identify an area of distress in their business that has hindered their growth over the past two years.
The U.S. Black Chambers (USBC) partnership with BP the oil and gas company, will provide funding to Black-owned businesses in the gulf coast region. The program is managed by two USBC member Chambers – the Louisiana Chamber of Commerce Foundation (LCCF), and the Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce (BCBCC).
Making the economy work for more people is a key focus for JPMorgan Chase. As part of that mission, JPMorgan Chase launched Advancing Black Pathways (ABP), a new initiative that builds on our existing Entrepreneurs of Color Fund efforts to help Black entrepreneurs chart stronger paths towards economic success and empowerment through:
• Access to working capital and cash
• Funding for capital expenditures like new equipment or an office redesign
As a part of the “Make Black Count” initiative, the National Urban League, on behalf of the 2020 Census Black Roundtable will host a 2020 Census National Tele-Town Hall on March 10, 2020 at 8:00pm ET.
The 2020 Census National Tele-Town Hall will feature national civil rights, civic, faith, and local elected leaders who will discuss the importance of the 2020 Census and steps we must take as the Black community to get our fair share of federal resources, political representation and power.
The keynote speaker for the TownHall is Martin Luther King III, he will be joined by other civil rights and national leaders, including Marc Morial, Rev. Al Sharpton, Derrick Johnson, Dr. Barbara Williams Skinner, and Beverly Smith, National President, Delta Sigma Theta, Black Roundtable co-convener, Melanie Campbell, CEO and President, National Coalition for Black Civic Participation will be featured, as well.
In addition to civil rights leaders, mayors from New Orleans, LA, Inglewood, CA, Buffalo, NY, Dallas, TX, Mt. Vernon, NY will join in on the call to discuss the importance of an accurate count to their communities.
In the wake of the Coronavirus, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published “Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19” to help companies respond in the event of coronavirus in the workplace.
On the small business front, yesterday the White House released remarks by President Trump and members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force hinting at a proposed stimulus package that is expected to relieve American small businesses and hourly wage workers affected by the recent outbreak.
In other news, the Department of Labor published a final rule to address the nation’s widening skills gap and increase the availability of high-quality apprenticeship programs in sectors where opportunities are not widespread. The final rule establishes a system for advancing the development of high-quality, Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAPs).
Closing out the day, the House will convene for legislative business on S. 760, the Support for Veterans in Effective Apprenticeships Act of 2019, a bill to increase veterans access to financial assistance for apprenticeship programs and three more bills.
USBC Member Testimony:
“Immediately after joining the U.S. Black Chambers, my company was introduced to AT&T and given opportunities to bid on work that we were not aware of previously.
Within a year, after joining my company was also introduced to BP and given an opportunity to bid on a national construction opportunity.
Neither of these relationships would have been possible without Brian Morse and the folks at the U.S. Black Chambers, and we are looking forward to more opportunities and successes of being a member of the U.S. Black Chambers.”