Before the financial onslaught of the coronavirus, economists and experts feared a recession would precipitously hurt black entrepreneurs. New data validates the concern. A report published this week by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that “the number of African-American business owners plummeted from 1.1 million in February 2020 to 640,000 in April.” — from Vox
Our newsletter this month focused on bringing a lot of nuance into our content. We have highlighted the history of civil rights heroes and have also tried to unpack some key concepts, including those of privilege and intersectionality. An awareness of these issues can often help us work on becoming more conscientious individuals — but what if these same kinds of privilege extend beyond us as people? What if we were to speak of businesses as privileged, and recognize how they have benefitted or suffered from the effects of systemic racism?
After all, businesses often outlast the lives of people, and their legacies can extend for centuries. Unfortunately, many Black entrepreneurs and Black-owned businesses have not had the chance to exert that sort of influence, as they have been historically deprived of credit and financial support, and hindered by systems such as red-lining and segregation. These recent numbers, which demonstrate a catastrophic loss for our business community, also the show disproportionate challenges Black-owned businesses still face today. Just as we should work to elevate Black voices, so should we work, as corporations, to elevate Black-owned businesses.
Check out our blog post highlighting some great Black-owned businesses in Philadelphia, and also, a handy illustration to helping small and local businesses from Danielle Coke, who has become an agency favorite for her helpful drawings and guides: