Supporting local, minority-owned businesses is vitally important, especially while we battle the economic impact of a global health pandemic.. When small businesses flourish, so do their communities. Patronizing these businesses benefits owners, consumers and their communities. For example, The Small Business Administration (SBA) estimates that small businesses accounted for over 60% of new jobs between 1993 and 2013! The economic impact of COVID-19, however, is wreaking havoc on small businesses across the country, especially in communities of color. 

Black-owned businesses have been hit the hardest. According to analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Black businesses experienced the most acute decline from COVID-19, with a 41 % drop in the number of active business owners since February 2020. Notably, Latinx business owners fell by 32% and Asian business owners dropped by 26% over the same period. Local, minority-owned businesses need our support now more than ever. The following are a few ways you can support your favorite places in your neighborhood. 

Prioritize Local Purchases 

The best way to support local minority-owned businesses is to purchase their products or services. Before you make a purchase from a big box store, consider buying local instead! When you do this, your money is more likely to end up back in your community. Economists estimate that for every $100 you spend at a local small business establishment, $43 goes directly back into the community compared to only $13 when you spend at a national chain.

Leave Reviews

Don’t forget to review your favorite products! If a local business you’ve used has a review page on their site, consider submitting a rave review of their product. Businesses usually also have review pages on Facebook, Google, and more. The more positive reviews they have, the more likely other individuals will purchase from them. Leaving a review normally only takes a few minutes, but it can benefit the company immensely. If you’re worried about privacy, you can just use your initials. 

Share Your Experience

Sure, word of mouth is a great way to encourage people to visit a business. These days, though, we’re not in contact with as many people as we usually are. If you’re a fan of a product, consider sharing a post or picture on social media describing why you love it. People are more likely to purchase a product when a friend recommends it. Tagging a local organization often allows them to share your post online. People enjoy it when companies share posts by other real people. 

Supporting local minority-owned businesses has always been important. These days, due to COVID-19, it’s more crucial than ever before. Consider prioritizing purchases from local groups. Your support doesn’t just have to be monetary! You can also leave reviews and share your personal experience online. Both of these will help encourage other people to support your favorite businesses. 

Advocate for Minority-Owned Businesses to Get Equitable Share of Government Funding

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the federal government’s signature relief program for small businesses, has left significant coverage and lending gaps among small and minority-owned businesses. As of August 2020, only 20% of the PPP loans went to areas that had the highest concentration of Black-owned businesses.

Just as consumers can support minority businesses with their purchasing power, government agencies can assist minority entrepreneurs through supplier diversity initiatives. As citizens, we should push for these changes on the federal, state and local level. SBA’s 8(a) Program and other local initiatives such as The Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE) in New York City demonstrate how supplier diversity is key to the success of minority and women-owned businesses. If you are a small, minority-owned business owner or would like to assist one, here’s a list of various resources and support services that small businesses may find helpful during this time.