Equitable Pathways to Small Business Recovery: An All-Hands Approach

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From LISC and Next City comes a playbook that offers a framework for paving equitable pathways to small business success, and concrete strategies for supporting capital access, small business capacity and commercial real estate.

As we move into year three of the COVID-19 pandemic, and reckon with the trauma of nearly 900,000 lives lost, it becomes difficult to grasp the devastating and irreversible scope of change this world event has wrought. 

In the economic realm, small business closures were one of the most visible losses early on. As with so many aspects of COVID-19, these closures affected people of color with disproportionate severity. Over the first months of the pandemic, the number of active Black-owned businesses fell by 41 percent, and the number of Latinx-owned businesses fell by 32 percent, which translates to roughly 1.5 to two times the overall closure rate.

Additionally, these pandemic years have exacerbated the gulf between large corporations and smaller establishments. For example, 2021 ended with S&P 400 companies reporting an almost 60 percent increase in profits, compared with the last quarter of 2019. In January 2022, however, two-thirds of small business owners reported that the pandemic negatively impacted them moderately or a great deal, according to the Census’s Small Business Pulse Survey. For business owners themselves, especially entrepreneurs of color, women-owned firms, and/or immigrant-owned establishments, the direct loss of livelihood and wealth has been devastating.

Fortunately, the pandemic has also sparked experimentation and extraordinary efforts, especially at state and local levels, to support equitable small business recovery. This detailed new playbook, Equitable Pathways to Small Business Recovery: An All-Hands Approach, is a collaboration between LISC and Next City, supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It documents promising strategies employed by state and local governments — strategies developed in partnership with stakeholders, including  organizations that provide small business development services, CDFIs, and local and ethnic chambers of commerce representing BIPOC entrepreneurs themselves.

This ebook is presented in partnership with LISC


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