New Democrat Coalition Partnered with Congressional Black Caucus to Celebrate National Black Business Month
Black entrepreneurship is a driving force in our nation’s economy. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, Black-owned employer businesses and sole proprietorships accounted for 1.1 million businesses in the United States, employing over 1.2 million American workers, and generated $127.9Bn in revenue. Despite their contributions to American entrepreneurship, innovation, and job creation, Black-owned businesses face notable obstacles, including a lack of access to capital — caused by wealth disparities, a lack of investment, higher priced capital, and difficulty securing loans from banks — when compared to white business owners.
These challenges have been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. According to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, 41% of Black-owned businesses have been shuttered by COVID-19 compared to just 17% of white-owned businesses. Black-owned businesses are predominantly within social service industries, like beauty salons, taxi services, and daycare centers, which have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic. In addition, Black business owners have fewer employees to start, often lack the capacity and resources to transition their businesses online, and are facing difficulties accessing federal assistance.
National Black Business Month, held annually every August, is an opportunity to recognize and support the many Black-owned businesses and Black business leaders that contribute to their local communities and our nation’s economy. The New Democrat Coalition (NDC), led by NDC Vice Chair Terri Sewell (AL-07), partnered with the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) to provide resources and encourage Members to host district events with Black business leaders in honor of National Black Business Month.
Several New Dems and Members across the Democratic Caucus engaged with Black business leaders, learning from and promoting their experiences and expertise, including:
- NDC Chair Derek Kilmer (WA-06), NDC Vice Chair Suzan DelBene (WA-01), and Reps. Denny Heck (WA-10), Kim Schrier (WA-08), and Rick Larsen (WA-02) held a virtual roundtable with Black business leaders in Washington State.
- NDC Rep. Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), along with Reps. Andy Levin (MI-09), and Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), held a virtual roundtable with Black business owners from their districts.
- NDC Rep. Donna Shalala (FL-27) held a virtual roundtable with Black business owners and community leaders in South Florida.
- NDC Rep. Donald Norcross (NJ-01) toured a local restaurant in Lawnside, New Jersey, and held a discussion with the owners.
- NDC Rep. Steven Horsford (NV-04) held an Instagram Live conversation with Black business owners of a local cosmetology institute, a restaurant, and a barbershop.
- NDC Rep. Madeleine Dean (PA-04) held a virtual roundtable and participated in a virtual trauma discussion. She also toured a cafe in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, an ice cream shop and an art gallery in Glenside, Pennsylvania, and a hair salon in Roslyn, Pennsylvania.
- NDC Freshman Whip Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) held a virtual roundtable with seven Black small businesses, from brewery owners and restaurants to tech startups and communications firms.
- NDC Rep. Jennifer Wexton (VA-10) held an in-person, socially-distanced discussion with community leaders at a locally-owned coffee shop in Mannasas, Virginia.
- NDC Rep. Cheri Bustos (IL-17), along with Rep. Nydia Velasquez (NY-07) and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (SC-06), held a virtual roundtable with Black business leaders.
- NDC Rep. Brad Schneider (IL-10) held a virtual roundtable discussion with Black business owners and community leaders, including the owners of a local salon, a limo service company, and the Black Chamber of Commerce Director.
- NDC Rep. Charlie Crist (FL-13) toured local Black-owned businesses, including local restaurants, a bookstore owner, a business incubator, a therapist practice, and an insurance agency.
- NDC Rep. Dean Phillips (MN-03) held a virtual roundtable discussion with local Black business owners and community leaders, including the owners of restaurants, barber shops, startup companies, a construction company, and the Director of the African American Development Center and the CEO of the Community Reinvestment Fund.
Our nation and economy can only reach its potential when we unleash the economic power and ingenuity of all of our people through policies that ensure equitable access to opportunity, close the wealth gap, and support the success of our Black businesses. The NDC remains committed to working in partnership with our colleagues in the CBC to fight for racial justice, address barriers to success for minority business owners, and advocate for legislative responses to combat financial exclusion and the racial wealth gap.