How do minority owned businesses recover without PPP loans?
For many small business owners, federal P3 loans have been a lifeline.
This paycheck protection program money was right on time and perfect for a lot of people.
For many whites, it is. Many black and Hispanic businesses weren’t paid that way.
And if you didn’t get one of the 11.8 million P3 loans approved across the country, you’ve probably tried a traditional bank loan or grant to run your small business or non-profit organization. It’s always difficult if you’re a person of color.
Carol Reese is a small business coach and strategist in Richmond, Virginia.
“My granddaughter is nine years old. I want, when she becomes a young woman, that she can go into any financial institution and get a loan based on what she has done and not on a difficult credit system that is already not designed for minorities or people of color, ”said Carol Reese. , CEO of ReeSources Inc.
Reese’s job is to keep small businesses going by helping modernize the front and back office, but during the pandemic, when it was time for her to get help, it didn’t come.
“I have not received anything from the PPP money,” she said.
One problem: The PPP loan was designed to finance the payroll, and the majority of black businesses have few or no employees.
I met Carol Reese earlier this month in the quaint village of Pinehurst, North Carolina. I’ve heard that this is where golf is played and the business is done. We were attending an executive networking conference sponsored by the National Institute for Minority Economic Development.
We socially distanced ourselves on the porch in rocking chairs, discussing why so many black businesses did not survive the pandemic and what could be done about it.
Vicki Lee Parker-High, Executive Director of the North Carolina Business Council, joined us on the porch.
“We can no longer use the old myths and excuses;” these are bad investments “or” black companies don’t have the experience, they don’t have the credit, “” Parker-High said.
“P3s were a level playing field. There was no credit report they had to give up. There was no other criteria than applying … So those numbers should have been even. weren’t looking to judge them on those standard criteria. So that clearly shows us and tells us a story as black people that we’ve seen for a long, long time, that you are treated differently because of your skin color. . “
Parker-High said the North Carolina Business Council got both rounds of PPP loans because of who she knew in the financial industry.
“Let’s be clear, I’m a black woman, but they were white. We’ve known each other for years,” Parker-High said. “I know it can seem difficult at times, but we have to get used to talking with people. Black people have to get used to talking to people who are not like them too.”
Reese said she wants questions about race removed from small business loan applications in the future.
“The other thing is, I want companies to be suitable for what they do, not what you think they can’t do,” Reese said. “I want us to be one people.”