Supporting Black-owned Small Businesses with Working Capital

February is Black History Month—let’s take a moment to celebrate and recognize the more than 3 million Black-owned businesses across the United States. Minority-owned small businesses play a vital role in driving innovation, creating jobs and nurturing the soul of their local communities. However, when they look for working capital to fuel business growth, they often find they fall into the gaps left by banks in the market. Providing greater access to capital for minority-owned businesses is essential to unlocking our economy’s rich potential. Supporting the growth and success of these small businesses during Black History Month and beyond is critical for a more inclusive and prosperous economy.

Hurdles in Accessing Capital

Minority entrepreneurs are more likely than other small business owners to face significant challenges when it comes to getting the funds they need to grow their businesses. Specifically, minority-owned businesses encounter difficulties accessing traditional bank loans, as they are more likely to be rejected and are often offered fewer collateral options than other small businesses. Having access to working capital, when needed, can make or break the long-term viability and profitability of any small business. However, for minority entrepreneurs, these additional hurdles not only put the business at risk but also have a negative impact on the broader economy. The success of minority-owned businesses, often located in underserved neighborhoods, is crucial for providing services in those areas and encouraging healthy competition. They introduce new ideas, products, and services into the market, thus contributing significantly to the growth and development of the economy.

Impact of Expanded Access

Equal access to working capital is crucial for businesses and can have a significant impact, especially for historically underserved communities. Minority-owned businesses stand to benefit significantly from expanded access to loans and lines of credit, and the current administration has focused on this. Over the past few years, the U.S. has seen a historic surge in new business formation, and supporting those businesses with working capital will fund new jobs and promote the economic vibrancy needed for U.S. businesses to stay innovative and compete globally. By expanding access to capital, we can unlock the potential of countless minority entrepreneurs, spur economic growth and drive progress for all.

Role of Financial Institutions and Policy Makers

Financial institutions play an essential role in expanding and improving access to capital. Yet, we recognize more work must be done to promote growth and prosperity for everyone. We are committed to empowering minority-owned businesses by offering inclusive lending practices and financial products that meet their unique needs and challenges. However, policymakers also play a crucial role in creating a more supportive lending environment. We can work together to build a fair economic landscape by offering tax incentives to financial institutions that support minority-owned businesses and promote fair lending practices. Working together, we can create a brighter future for all.

Resilient Minority-Owned Businesses Remain Optimistic

Despite facing economic challenges, minority entrepreneurs are demonstrating remarkable resilience and determination in the face of adversity. According to the recently released Small Business Cash Flow Trend Report conducted by OnDeck and Ocrolus, minority-owned businesses are among the majority of entrepreneurs in the U.S. who are feeling optimistic about growth in 2024 and their ability to expand over the next 12 months. In fact, there are countless inspiring success stories of minority-owned businesses that, with the proper support, have made remarkable strides. These narratives not only highlight the resilience and ingenuity of minority entrepreneurs but also demonstrate the untapped potential that access to capital can unleash.

As we look to the future, achieving fair access to capital is a journey that requires us all to come together—governments, financial institutions and community groups alike. Offering education and mentorship can provide minority business owners with the tools and knowledge they need to thrive in the highly competitive business landscape.