Profiles in Black entrepreneurship: Small business owners share growth mindset and a drive to succeed
While small businesses often face universal challenges in starting and growing their businesses, history and research have shown Black-owned businesses have faced greater challenges than their peers, especially when it comes to accessing traditional sources of financial capital. Those challenges were further compounded for Black entrepreneurs by the COVID-19 pandemic. A paper from the National Bureau of Economic research showed 41% of Black-owned businesses have closed for good since the pandemic began in early 2020, yet less than 2% received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, compared to 83% of white small business owners. Block Advisors’ own research confirmed that Black-owned businesses saw a disproportionate impact from pandemic-related factors, particularly in revenue.
All small businesses deserve equitable access to success—starting with access to money and connections. In February 2021, armed with this data about the impact of the pandemic on Black-owned businesses, H&R Block created a new program being piloted with the Urban League of Greater Kansas City (ULKC). The program offers free financial management resources to Black-owned businesses, with a goal of increasing their financial confidence and helping Black small business owners gain access to capital through improved financial readiness. The program serves a key subset of small business owners who may need the most support, those with roughly 0-9 employees and more than $25K in revenue and aims to create more equitable local economies.
From local restauranteurs, to shop owners, and consultant firms, program participants participate in a series of coaching sessions over several months. Specific financial coaching topics from both Block Advisors and the Urban League of Greater Kansas City include financial assessments, credit repair, capital source awareness, quarterly income and payments, underutilized tax deductions, business structure, marketing and general readiness for capital.
Check out H&R Block’s profile series highlighting several Black-owned businesses in Kansas City and their stories of entrepreneurship:
- Reggie Hines: Making the leap from insurance adjuster to business owner
- Angelynn Howell: Dreaming of being a chef leads to a business
- Alan Kneeland: Creating a neighborhood gathering space
- Ron Smith: Building a family business
- Chris Goode: Bringing healthy food to the community
- Shanita McAfee-Bryant: Chef creates opportunity through culinary program
- Gary Jones: Providing comfort to grieving families
- Video: H&R Block’s Small business program connects Black-owned businesses
If you’re a small business owner or nonprofit looking for information on how to bring this program to your community, reach out to H&R Block’s Make Every Block Better initiative.