America’s Black-owned businesses are confronting two national crises. First is the COVID-19 pandemic, which has brought an acute and sudden shock to small businesses, with 75% of small business owners reporting being negatively impacted by COVID-19. Second are the long-term, structural racial disparities in business ownership, which continue to undercut the nation’s business dynamism and Black Americans’ prosperity and wealth. Without addressing the long-standing injustices that constrain Black business ownership and growth, economic recovery from COVID-19 will be less equal and less dynamic.
As part of the COVID-19 Metro Recovery Watch, the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program hosted the culminating event in a series highlighting principles and strategies for advancing inclusive economic recovery. The event focused on Black-owned business support as a path to a robust and equitable recovery. Brookings Fellow Andre M. Perry previewed new analysis on Black business ownership and development goals. A panel of leaders then outlined strategies to spur creation and growth of Black-owned businesses at the local level, and how corporate America and the federal government can support their bottom-up efforts.