New Democrat Coalition Partners with Rep. Terri Sewell to Celebrate National Black Business Month
Black businesses serve as centers for innovation, entrepreneurship, job creation, and community in America. They create billions in economic activity in the United States and – if barriers to equitable business opportunities were eliminated — would add an additional $290 billion in business equity for Black business owners. The New Democrat Coalition is committed to empowering more Black businesses to help build community wealth and close the racial wealth gap, which costs the U.S. economy over a trillion dollars a year.
“National Black Business Month is a time to celebrate the many contributions that Black-owned businesses make to our communities and recommit ourselves to addressing their unique needs.
For decades, Black-owned businesses have faced systemic barriers to reaching their full potential, and we as legislators must use every tool at our disposal to ensure they not only survive but thrive as we come out of this pandemic. I’m proud to see so many of my NDC colleagues engaging in critical conversations with Black business leaders across the nation as we fight to level the playing field lay the groundwork for a more equitable future.” — Rep. Terri Sewell
Unfortunately, we know that Black-owned businesses are less than half as likely to get financing as white-owned businesses or secure loans in their first year. This has contributed to the fact that Black people account for only 4.3% of the nation’s 22.2 million business owners despite representing 13.4 % of the U.S. population. Black-owned businesses also face further barriers to economic success, experiencing lower revenue growth in Black neighborhoods despite being highly rated and having trouble accessing secure capital to grow their operations.
To help raise awareness and spur action, the New Democrat Coalition partnered for the second year in a row with Rep. Terri Sewell to celebrate National Black Business Month and call for equal opportunity, providing resources to and encouraging Members to host events with Black business leaders in their district.
Many New Dems and other Members of the House Democratic Caucus participated in National Black Business Month, holding events and meetings with Black business owners and leaders in their district, including:
- NDC Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) met with a local coffee shop owner to discuss the effects of the pandemic on Black business owners and toured a local, Black-owned local men’s clothing store.
- NDC Leadership Member Chrissy Houlahan (PA-06) met with a young Black entrepreneur in her district to learn about her soap business.
- NDC Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) stopped by a Black-owned southern eatery to meet with the owners and have some delicious food.
- NDC Rep. Marilyn Strickland (WA-10) met with the owners of a local juice and smoothie bar to discuss how Congress can uplift Black-owned businesses.
- NDC Rep. David Trone (MD-06) toured a local business and discussed how local, state, and federal organizations can help uplift Black-owned businesses.
- NDC Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07) held a virtual roundtable with Black business owners in her district to hear about their perspectives and also toured a Black-owned dance studio.
- NDC Rep. Mike Quigley (IL-05) visited and met the founder of an initiative that works in high-poverty neighborhoods to both serve coffee and normalize therapy in communities that experience on-going traumas such as drug abuse, incarceration, and persistent violence.
- NDC Rep. Stephanie Murphy (FL-07) held a Black Business Month Panel with leaders in her district to provide guidance and resources for entrepreneurs and small business owners.
- NDC Rep. Deborah Ross (NC-02) visited two Black-owned businesses in her district and held a roundtable with several Black entrepreneurs to discuss how to increase the participation of minority students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) careers.
Calling attention to and working to improve the economic conditions for Black business owners and entrepreneurs is even more crucial right now since the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected minority-owned businesses and compounded previously existing racial barriers. During the pandemic, the number of Black business owners dropped more than 40% and while efforts to revitalize small businesses like the Paycheck Protection Program succeeded in keeping many businesses afloat — there remain systemic inequities that affect Black business owners’ ability to create revenue and grow to their full potential.
To help, Congress has increased approved targeted funding for Community Development Financial Institutions and Minority Depository Institutions. Researchers have suggested investing in Black businesses to expand the economy. Black business leaders have also pushed for an increase in federal procurement awardsreserved for Black and other minority-owned businesses, allowing Black businesses to access high-growth aspects of the economy.
Equal opportunity is not only one of the hallmarks of our nation, but also a moral and economic imperative. Towards this goal, the NDC remains committed to ensuring equal access, addressing historic barriers, and achieving racial equality. Only with equitable opportunities and outcomes can our nation and economy achieve true success.