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Report: 41% of Black-owned businesses shuttered during pandemic’s first month

'It will be a while before we recover'

ROANOKE, Va. – The uncertain economy brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic had disastrous impacts on Black-owned small businesses, according to a new report.

The National Bureau of Economic Research conducted the research.

While the pandemic hit entrepreneurs across the board, an analysis of its impact on the number of active small businesses using nationally representative data from April, the report found approximately 441,000 black-owned businesses, or 41%, closed permanently during the government-ordered shutdowns to stop the pandemic’s spread.

In comparison, 658,000 Latino-owned businesses, or 32%, were closed. 1.1 million businesses owned by immigrants, or 32%, were shuttered and 1.3 million women-owned businesses, or 25%, were terminated.

“The negative early-stage impacts on minority- and immigrant-owned businesses, if prolonged, may be problematic for broader racial inequality because of the importance of minority businesses for local job creation, economic advancement, and longer-term wealth inequality,” said the report’s author, Robert Fairlie of the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Three Roanoke businesses, all black-owned, had three different journeys.

Dillon’s Hot Dog’s & More got help thanks to the trillions of dollars in government assistance.

“My bank reached out to me. They partnered with somebody. So, once I filled out the application and gave them everything – 72 hours,” explained owner James Dillion, Jr.

As for She’s International Boutique, things did not pop up until later.

“Being without any income for almost two months and even now it’s still slow, it will be a while before we recover,” said owner Diane Speaks.

Octaviana Richardson owns The Sweet Spot. She says she did get any funds.

“I have not gotten any of those things. I’ve still been applying and hopefully something will come through,” said Richardson.

Some of the local organizations they credit for keeping them alive include Total Action for Progress and the small business association through the chamber of commerce.

Click here to read the full report.


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