“If there is a time for progress, the time is right”: Are more Americans supporting black-owned businesses?
The death of George Floyd last year and subsequent mass protests have brought to light inequality between blacks and whites in all its forms, including challenges for black-owned businesses.
Since then, data suggests consumers are increasingly putting their money where they want, spending more at black-owned businesses and restaurants.
The question is, how much can this help after these companies have been particularly battered by the pandemic?
On Tuesday, a jury found former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin guilty of unintentional second degree murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death.
In reactions to the verdict, some observers – including President Joe Biden – hoped the timing would be a turning point towards a fairer future.
âThere is certainly a more conscious and stronger sense of social fairness.
Some black business leaders are hoping that part of the change is a deeper commitment by customers and businesses to keep black-owned businesses in mind when making purchases or looking for a new supplier. services.
âThere is certainly a more conscious and stronger sense of social fairness,â said Larry Ivory, president and CEO of the Illinois State Black Chamber of Commerce, as well as president of the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce. Black National Chamber of Commerce.
Some figures are encouraging. For example, Yelp YELP,
users became increasingly aware of who owned the companies they frequented, according to the data.
From February 2020 to February 2021, searches for black-owned businesses jumped 3085%, according to the information released this month from the website that helps consumers find and rate local businesses.
The search rate increased by 4,077% for businesses owned by Latinos, 264% for businesses owned by women and 130% for businesses owned by Asian Americans.
âIf ever there is a time for progress, now is the time.
Yelp users were also increasingly aware of who they were reviewing. Mention of black business owners in reviews increased 195% from February 2020 to February 2021. It increased 76% for female owners and 58% for Latino owners.
âPeople are rallying around small businesses,â Ivory said.
But, like so many others during the pandemic, the rebound has been uneven in businesses that are getting back on their feet. In Ivory’s home state, 30% of black-owned businesses have closed. And other problems persist, such as access to capital, he said.
But Ivory has hope. âIf ever there is a time for progress, now is the time,â he said.
EatOkra, an app that connects users to local black-owned restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops, food trucks, bars and wineries, saw a 4,000% increase in app downloads between Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020 and Chauvin’s guilty verdict. During this time, the app connected more than 300,000 diners with black-owned restaurants.
âConsumers have spoken out loud that supporting black-owned businesses and restaurants is the top priority,â said Anthony Edwards Jr., co-founder and CEO of EatOkra.
75% of the roughly 400 black-owned small businesses said they saw an increase in business between June and the end of July, according to a investigation of Groupon GRPN,
and the National Black Chamber of Commerce.
A spokesperson for Groupon noted that user searches for “owned by black people” increased by nearly 400% last year compared to 2019.
The pandemic has left a deep hole
Growing interest is certainly welcome, but the pandemic has left a deep hole for black-owned and other minority-owned businesses.
The number of active black-owned businesses fell 41% from February 2020 to April 2020, according to a study into the initial shock wave of the pandemic. There was a 17% drop for white-owned businesses at this time.
It remained difficult as 2020 progressed.
92% of black-owned businesses reported experiencing financial hardship.
Some 67% of black and Asian U.S. businesses said they had to cut operations last year, according to an annual Federal Reserve Bank. business survey belonging to people of color; 54% of white-owned businesses reported cuts.
Another 92% of black-owned businesses reported experiencing financial stress, up from 85% in 2019; 79% of white-owned businesses reported financial difficulties, up from 65% in 2019.
The federal government offered lifesavers to businesses as part of its paycheck protection program, which extended potentially repayable loans: 61% of black-owned businesses received P3 money, up from 85 % of Asian American companies and 82% of white companies.
Many times, Ivory said, it boiled down to the lack of a prior banking relationship between prospective business owners and the banks serving as the venue for loan applications.
When it comes to getting money and support for black communities, Ivory said measures such as charitable donations to organizations are laudable.
But hanging out with minority-owned businesses and supporting the business chambers that support them is “the best ROI you can get,” he said.
See also: 5 Ways To Support Black Owned Businesses: “ It’s Not Rocket Science – People Just Choose Not To Do It ”