CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–August is National Black Business Month, a time to recognize and celebrate the important contributions from Black-owned businesses. As we approach Black Business Month, more people are looking for ways to support Black communities, and according to a new survey, 75% of Black small businesses have seen an uptick in customers since the beginning of June. While the increase in business has been welcome, particularly in light of the devastating economic impact of COVID-19, the study also reinforced the inequities that Black entrepreneurs continue to face.
The poll, commissioned by Groupon (NASDAQ: GRPN) and the National Black Chamber of Commerce, surveyed more than 400 Black small business owners to better understand the challenges they face, why they decided to become entrepreneurs, how they achieved success and the most important issues they want to see addressed in the 2020 presidential election. Additionally, Groupon is announcing a month-long series of virtual events hosted in partnership with its home state, the state of Illinois, to shine a light on challenges faced and to find ways to support Black-owned businesses across the country.
“We’re thrilled to celebrate Black Business Month as this community has been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and traditionally suffers from a lack of access to adequate capital and resources,” said Aaron Cooper, Interim CEO, Groupon. “One of the many ways that we’re translating our support for Black Lives Matter into meaningful action is by highlighting and championing the success of Black-owned businesses and looking for more ways to connect them to our diverse customer base. We hope that everyone will join us in supporting the more than 2 million Black-owned businesses in this country at a time when they need us the most.”
According to the business owners who participated in the survey, 80% said they faced more challenges launching their businesses due to their race. Nearly 60% of respondents said they experienced some form of racism or bias, and half of the survey participants said that the government stood in their way when it came to opening their businesses. Approximately three out of four Black business owners said that they’ve had fewer chances due to a lack of capital investment and resources.
Disproportionate COVID Impact
The disparities between Black and white-owned businesses were highlighted by the devastating economic impact of COVID-19. While 76% of Black-owned businesses said they were negatively impacted by COVID-19, only 5% of those that applied for a Paycheck Protection Program loan received one. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), as many as 41% of Black small businesses were forced to close permanently due to COVID-19 compared to just 17% of white-owned businesses.
Becoming the Boss
Seventy-nine percent of survey respondents said they’re more proud than ever to be a Black business owner. Black business owners said that pursuing their passions, gaining more control over their futures, being their own bosses, having flexible schedules and helping their local communities were the top five reasons why they went into business for themselves.
Nearly half (47%) of the survey respondents said it took between three and six years for their businesses to get off the ground and become successful. While 84% said they were held to a different standard than other ethnicities, putting in hard work, taking pride in the quality of their product or service, having an innovative business idea, hiring the right people and building strong community relationships were identified as some of the keys to their success.
Making Their Voices Heard in the 2020 Election
Most Black business owners, 74%, are hopeful about the future of race relations in America, but they still want to see the issue addressed by the 2020 U.S. presidential candidates. The top issues that Black business owners want to see addressed in the 2020 campaign are race relations, small business support, police brutality, the economy and healthcare.
Groupon, which has seen searches for Black-owned businesses increase more than 300% on mobile since early June, is urging consumers to celebrate National Black Business Month by supporting businesses in their local communities as well as by making a donation to help provide new Black entrepreneurs with much needed access to capital. The company has a curated collection of hundreds of Black-owned businesses across the United States and will be featuring these merchants across its mobile, online and social channels throughout the month of August. In addition, the company has partnered with Kiva.org––a renowned crowdfunding platform––to raise funds from consumers in support of a Black-owned business fund that will help create opportunity and unlock investment capital for Black merchants across the U.S.
Throughout the month, Groupon will continue its #PassTheMic social media campaign where the company has turned over its collective U.S. audience of 22 million followers to amplify and uplift Black voices and merchant success stories.
To help bring more attention to the disparities Black entrepreneurs face and resources available to help their businesses succeed, the company is partnering with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) to offer three virtual panel discussions for merchants during the month of August that bring together a national audience of government officials and Black business community leaders.
“Across Illinois, our Black-owned businesses contribute to the vibrancy and success of our communities – yet we know that they continue to face long-standing obstacles to running their businesses, all made even more challenging by COVID-19,” said Acting DCEO Director Michael Negron. “To protect our Black businesses, Illinois has continued to deploy resources to lift up businesses hit hardest during the crisis, and to continue leveling the playing field for Black businesses. On behalf of Governor Pritzker, we thank Groupon for advancing the conversation around how to remove barriers and better support Black businesses in Illinois and around the country.”
The three panel discussions will be held on the following dates:
- Doing Business with Government: Fostering an inclusive and competitive business environment that will help Black business enterprises increase their capacity, grow revenue, and enhance credentials. (August 13)
- Black Business Lending––Accessing Capital & Tax Incentives: How Black businesses can access financial resources and tax incentives to scale and grow a sustainable business that increases overall economic opportunity and growth in communities of color. (August 20)
- Navigating COVID-19 and Civil Unrest––Federal and State Financial Resources for Black Businesses: How Black businesses can take advantage of federal/state COVID-19 grant/loan relief programs and rebuild damaged businesses post-civil unrest. (August 27)
For more information about the Groupon and Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity virtual panels, please visit gr.pn/nbbmmerchant.
For more information on joining the National Black Chamber of Commerce, please visit https://www.nationalbcc.org/join-us-16261/membership-benefits.
To find Black-owned businesses that you can support in your community, please visit gr.pn/celebrate.
About the National Black Chamber of Commerce
The National Black Chamber of Commerce® was incorporated in Washington, DC in March 1993. The NBCC is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, nonsectarian organization dedicated to the economic empowerment of African American communities. In essence, the NBCC is on the leading edge of educating and training Black communities on the need to participate vigorously in this great capitalistic society known as America. The NBCC reaches 100,000 Black owned businesses. There are 2.6 million Black-owned businesses in the United States. Black businesses account for over $138 billion in revenue each year according to the US Bureau of Census. The National Black Chamber of Commerce® is dedicated to economically empowering and sustaining African American communities through entrepreneurship and capitalistic activity within the United States.
Groupon (NASDAQ: GRPN) is an experiences marketplace that brings people more ways to get the most out of their city or wherever they may be. By enabling real-time mobile commerce across local businesses, live events and travel destinations, Groupon helps people find and discover experiences––big and small, new and familiar––that make for a full, fun and rewarding life. Groupon helps local businesses grow and strengthen customer relationships––resulting in strong, vibrant communities. To learn more about Groupon’s community-building efforts, please visit community.groupon.com.