Black-owned businesses hit disproportionately hard by the pandemic

Washington, DC - Amid forced closings and decreasing demand due to a surging pandemic, small businesses have been struggling to keep afloat. However, data shows that the Covid-19 crisis has taken the biggest toll on Black-owned businesses nationwide.

Retail space for lease in New York during the pandemic.
Retail space for lease in New York during the pandemic.  © IMAGO / Levine-Roberts

State-mandated lockdowns have driven many small businesses into financial ruin since March last year.

But research suggests that minority-owned, specifically Black-owned businesses, have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, CNBC reported.

Black entrepreneurs reportedly have had to close down at more than twice the rate of white business owners, as Black-owned businesses declined by 41% between February and April 2020, compared with a 17% decline among white-owned businesses, according to data by the Federal Reserve.

Pre-existing vulnerabilities create additional hardships for Black entrepreneurs during the pandemic. For instance, Black businesses seeking funding such as loans are three times as likely to get rejected than their white counterparts, Jonnel Doris, commissioner of the New York's department of small business services, told NY1.

Amid widespread Black Lives Matter protests following the police killing of George Floyd on May 25, Black small businesses saw a sudden surge of customers' interest over the summer months. But sales fell back to pre-pandemic status by the fall.

Google reported that searches for Black-owned businesses spiked 600% in 2020 compared to 2019, with users searching for "Black-owned bookstores," "Black-owned restaurants," and similar terms.

In honor of Black History Month, the tech giant has announced on Monday that they will be introducing a shopping tab to help users find and support Black businesses more easily.

The feature will be available and visible in the coming months, and entrepreneurs can add the Black-owned tab by visiting the Google Merchant Help Center.

Cover photo: IMAGO / Levine-Roberts

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