The Small Business Administration’s regional administrator visited Black-owned businesses in the Dallas area on Tuesday.
African American-owned businesses have been hit especially hard during the coronavirus pandemic-caused recession, with roughly 40% of Black business owners reporting unemployment in April. SBA Administrator Ashley Bell said she believes a variety of factors, including access to technical support and banking relationships, led to the disproportionately negative experience for African American-owned businesses.
“I think some of the African American-owned businesses thought they had a banking relationship with the larger banks and had to realize just because you have an app on your phone doesn’t mean you have a relationship,” Bell said.
Now, Bell and the SBA hope to change that by focusing on a communication campaign towards minority businesses. The effort is aimed at making sure they are able to receive much needed federal assistance.
“I really do believe that African American businesses will take this experience with the pandemic as a learning experience to make sure that the some of the infrastructure is in place, we are prepared to go forward,” said Tre Black, who owns On Target Supplies and Logistics.
Black praised the efforts of the SBA, including their PPP program which has helped his business weather the downturn.
“The PPP dollars and other aid are incredibly important to assist On Target Supplies and Logistics out of this pandemic,” Black said.
Congress is considering another round of PPP funding, which would hone in on the smallest of the small businesses. Bell said he supported the approval of additional funding and believes this next round would be especially beneficial for African American-owned businesses.
"Ninety percent of Black businesses are micro-businesses so you can’t overemphasize the point,” Bell said.