(BPT) - Minority-owned businesses are the cornerstone of their communities, and over one-third of Black-owned businesses in the U.S. are headed by women — the highest share of any ethnic group. Yet according to Visa’s new Black Women-Owned Business Report 2021, nearly three quarters (71%) of Black women-owned businesses estimate they can’t survive another year under current pandemic conditions.
In the wake of the pandemic, small and medium-sized businesses nationwide have taken a major hit, with minority businesses suffering the most devastating blows. While more than half (54%) of businesses surveyed for Visa’s new report stated their business was positively impacted following the Black Lives Matter movement in Summer 2020, more than three quarters (78%) of businesses who saw benefits have said those increases have ceased.
The successes of Black-owned business are hard fought, as the Federal Reserve reports Black-owned businesses are less likely to be approved for bank loans, with an approval rate of only 46.5% (compared to 75.3% for white-owned businesses). Visa’s study supports this data, finding nearly one third (31%) of Black women-owned businesses stated raising capital and funding to stay afloat was one of their biggest challenges since the pandemic hit the U.S.
While women-owned businesses have been historically underfunded, new resources and support are emerging, including a newly formed Visa program focused on supporting Black women-owned businesses at a hyperlocal level. Addressing the needs of local entrepreneurs in cities with the highest concentration of Black-owned businesses in the U.S. and building on support provided to women-owned small businesses through "She's Next, Empowered by Visa" — the company brings resources and expertise to provide entrepreneurs with tailored solutions in the following cities: Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami and Washington, D.C. In addition, Visa has announced it will:
- Commit $1,000,000 and extend its grant and mentorship program to the six U.S. cities. Call for applications have opened and can be found at: https://ifundwomen.com/visa.
- Host its first She’s Next virtual conference of the year, “She’s Next 2021” on March 25, in partnership with The Female Quotient, to celebrate the Black community and women entrepreneurs. Interested small business owners can register at https://thefemalequotient.equalitylounge.com/shesnext2021empoweredbyvisa.
- Launch spotlight marketing campaigns to encourage consumers to shop at Black women-owned small businesses.
- Partner with Black Girl Ventures to work with local organizations that can more easily reach small businesses and help with point-of-sale and other technology upgrades.
“Black Girl Ventures is proud to partner with Visa on not only financially assisting these entrepreneurs, but also on providing a megaphone to each community’s most pressing needs,” said Shelly Bell, founder, Black Girl Ventures. “While the Black Lives Matter movement elevated consumer support of these businesses, the movement must continue to lift up these neighborhoods financially and spiritually.”
Are you a female business owner of color, or do you know someone who is? Visit IFundWomen.com/Visa to apply for a grant to fund your business, or to learn more about how Visa is supporting women entrepreneurs around the world, visit their She’s Next page.