Two days ago, President Joe Biden rolled out a fact sheet on his proposed American Rescue Plan. Now, Black-owned businesses are waiting at the ready to see if, indeed, the new Democratic president will do better by them than his predecessor.
In a statement posted to the White House’s official website, the Biden administration acknowledged that one in ten Black workers, and one in 11 LatinX workers, are unemployed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. To that end, then, his proposed American Rescue Plan will not only address this growing racial and economic disparity but will infuse additional money to the Black-owned businesses who were all but forgotten in the previous round of Small Business Administration (SBA) funding and Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) loans.
The comprehensive plan will also address other socio-economic issues created by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the growing hunger crisis, the increased assistance to veterans, and “equitable delivery” of additional economic stimulus payments.
In a recent study conducted by Forbes, Black-owned businesses were revealed to have far more economic instability than white-owned businesses, making them vulnerable in the wake of the pandemic. What’s more, because Black-owned businesses faced other hurdles that their white-owned counterparts didn’t have to face — such as weaker banking relationships, funding gaps, and locations in COVID-19 “hotspots” — only 20 percent of eligible businesses received funding from the SBA.
The question becomes will the proposed American Rescue Plan really close this gap?
Many Florida-based Black-owned businesses are certainly hoping so. Alex Minor, who represents Black Business Orlando, told Bay News 9 that President Biden needs to deliver on the promises he made, or many Black-owned businesses in the area will not survive. That said, Biden’s promise to deliver grants to more than one million businesses provides a glimmer of hope — however minor — to these businesses who have already been through enough.
“The number of Black businesses that have been closed because of what’s going on with the pandemic…the numbers are high,” said Minor. “[But] it seems like their [the Biden administration’s] heart is in the right place, and really anything that’s going to help people in our community keep businesses open, keep people employed…I can’t think that that won’t be positive.”