Community foundation supports minority-owned businesses in Northern Virginia


June 30, 2021

The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, in partnership with the New Northern Virginia Minority-Owned Businesses Working Group, recently released a new report “Supporting Northern Virginia Minority-Owned Businesses” that examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on region estimates. 128,000 minority-owned businesses. The report reveals that the pandemic has had a complex effect on the region’s local economy and on the well-being of its minority-owned businesses. Overall, businesses in the region have experienced both revenue loss (measured by taxable sales) and staff reduction (measured by workforce size and initial jobless claims) .

The total number of businesses with paid staff operating in Northern Virginia has remained stable, possibly due to downsizing of businesses instead of permanently shutting down and replacing those that have been closed with new businesses. . Minority-owned businesses are at higher risk of becoming insolvent, according to the report. In large part because of their small size, their concentration in high-risk sectors and their difficulty in accessing capital. Black and Hispanic-owned businesses were more likely to seek – but less likely to receive – outside funding and government funding. “When you look at businesses without paid staff… this population of workers and entrepreneurs and self-employed people, you see that overall, half of minority-owned businesses are in the high-risk sector,” Elizabeth said. . Hughes, Senior Director of the Insight Region Research Center at the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia.

At a virtual event on Wednesday, June 23 hosted by the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, keynote speaker Melissa Bradley, co-founder of Ureeka, a coaching service mentoring company, said the long history not to invest in businesses and minority communities of color have created barriers that make them more economically vulnerable. “It’s not a race issue. It’s not a gender issue. It’s an economic issue that we all have to recognize as extremely important,” Bradley said. More than half of Asian businesses are in high-risk industries like food and hospitality, making them one of the hardest hit groups financially.

“In order to have a resilient economy, everyone must be able to participate … it is not enough to create a program. We must be proactive. We must be coherent. We must bring real added value to everyone”, Buddy Rizer said. , Executive Director, Loudoun Economic Development. Several underrepresented local entrepreneurs funded by a $ 59,800 Community Foundation grant participated in Ureeka’s FireUp Business Mentoring and Coaching program for minority-owned businesses. “What I liked about the program is that whatever I learned I could immediately apply to my business and improve it,” said Niecia Bullock, owner of Rooted Yoga. “The pandemic ended up being a blessing in disguise for us because I could make really big mistakes on a very small scale and tighten things up. Northern Virginia is expected to be a majority minority region after the release of final 2020 census data. Twenty-seven percent of residents are immigrants who generate $ 57 billion in GDP annually. Immigrants are 47% more likely to be entrepreneurs.

“It’s in the best interests of all of us to lift all boats to do things positively,” said Bob Lazaro, executive director of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission. To help recover its businesses, jurisdictions in Northern Virginia provided $ 89.2 million in loans and grants to more than 9,600 local small businesses during the pandemic. Minority ownership rates among these beneficiaries ranged from 18% to 51% for programs that collected demographic information. The Northern Virginia Minority-Owned Business Task Force includes the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, Arlington Economic Development, the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, the County Economic Development Authority of Fairfax, Loudoun Economic Development, Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance, Northern Virginia Regional Commission and Prince William County Economic Development Department.

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