This National Black History Month, the U.S. Small Business Administration commemorates the 100th Anniversary of the destruction of Black Wall Street where hundreds of small business dreams were deferred in the town of Greenwood, Oklahoma. Greenwood’s 1921 Commission and other small business leaders join forces to help this community rebuild and regain economic equity.
SBA also celebrates the immeasurable contributions black business owners have made to entrepreneurship in this country. From key historical figures like Madame CJ Walker to well-known innovators like Oprah Winfrey, black business owners throughout history have shaped U.S. entrepreneurship and paved the way for today’s small business owners.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 2.6 million black-owned businesses in the U.S. – businesses like Appddiction Studio, whose owner, Timothy Porter, was named SBA’s 2020 National Small Business Person of the Year. Timothy started his business in 2011 with help from his local Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) and has since established Appddiction as the go-to small business app to support enterprise transformations for Department of Defense clients.
Last year hit U.S. small business owners hard, and black-owned businesses were no exception. Here are some of the resources SBA has to offer:
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Disaster Assistance: If you need help offsetting the economic impact of the pandemic, consider applying for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). The PPP, which relaunched last month, is intended to help businesses keep their employees on payroll and continue paying other essential bills. You can get matched with a PPP lender via Lender Match – a free online tool that connects small businesses with SBA approved lenders. In addition, eligible businesses may apply to have their PPP loan forgiven – an especially important option for hard-hit businesses. Also, EIDL loans help small business owners overcome a temporary loss of revenue caused by the pandemic. The application period for EIDL loans was recently extended to December 31, 2021.
- Contracting Opportunities: The federal government aims to award 23% of all federal contracting dollars to small businesses. Consider taking advantage and becoming a federal government contractor. One way to get started is through SBA’s contracting assistance programs, which help small businesses win federal contracts through mentorship and exclusive contracting opportunities. Porter, for example, participated in SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program. This program is geared toward small disadvantaged businesses, a group that the federal government aims to award 5% of contracting dollars to annually.
- Local Support: Whether businesses have a single question or want ongoing mentorship, local SBA resource partners like the Small Business Development Centers and Women’s Business Centers can provide tailored guidance. Meetings with an SBA resource partner can be done by phone, email, or video chat for expert advice on countless business topics. The SBA network is full of experts who can point the way to local tools, resources, and connections to take a business to the next level.
- Access to Capital: Funding is essential to getting your business off the ground and keeping it afloat. That’s why the SBA has established funding programs like SBA-guaranteed loans. If you are creditworthy but can’t obtain a business loan with reasonable rates and terms, SBA-guaranteed loans may be a good option. SBA also offers grant programs for businesses in specialized fields, such as the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, which are geared toward tech-focused small businesses.