Virginia Senator Mark Warner holds open forum in Lynchburg to boost black-owned businesses

“[COVID] disproportionately hit black-owned businesses and women-owned businesses”

Sen. Mark Warner was in our area this morning helping Black small business owners who lack financial assistance.

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Virginia Senator Mark Warner was in Lynchburg Thursday, leading a conversation with black, small business owners who have struggled during the pandemic.

“COVID-19 hit all of us hard, but on the business side, it disproportionately hit black-owned businesses and women-owned businesses,” said Warner.

He gave advice on resources to entrepreneurs like Davina Hunt Bare, who owns DB Homes 4 Hope LLC.

“We renovate old homes and then rent them to people, but we interview people. We make sure that people want hope for homeownership because we want to create generational wealth,” said Hunt Bare.

She said her biggest hurdle is access to capital because she only launched her business in June of 2020.”

“For the Paycheck Protection Program [PPP], you needed to be [opened for business] before February. We didn’t qualify for that, so we used our life savings,” said Hunt Bare.

Other business owners shared similar concerns during the open forum.

Warner said instead of dealing with big banks, Community Development Financial Institutions lend money to minority startups. He also urged people to look out for another round of PPP money, emergency funding through EDIL grants, Employee Retention Tax Credit and the American Rescue Plan.

“So many of these programs are literally brand new, and many of them have not even opened up their application period yet,” said Warner.

He wants to make sure everyone has support.

“We need a state where everybody gets the kind of fair shot that I’ve got,” said Warner.

Hoping that will build a stronger future.

“Like the Bible says, ‘you’re creating wealth for your children’s children,’ and that will change our community,” said Hunt Bare.

About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.