Strengthening minority-owned businesses in Northern Virginia after COVID-19

Virginia

LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. (WDVM) — The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted businesses throughout the DMV and beyond, particularly the region’s minority-owned businesses. The Community Foundation of Northern Virginia Minority-Owned Business Working Group highlights the inequities.

These businesses which include some of the most iconic businesses in the region are going to need the community’s support. Business owners said this isn’t a race or gender issue but an economic issue.

Jay Chandok, President with StrategyUS LLC, said, “I wish there were more resources available to help people of color, black, brown, immigrant, Asian. I’m not going to cast anyone in the bucket but basically, anyone who is a small business owner who is the backbone of the nation’s business process should have been helped more.”

StrategyUS LLC in Ashburn was one of the many businesses that were heavily impacted by Coronavirus. But they’re not alone, the owner of Rooted Yoga in Woodbridge said she found peace and healing on the mat but used the Ureeka program that provides business mentoring and coaching to get back on her feet.

Niecia Bullock, owner of Rooted Yoga said, “Things that I loved about the program was that everything I learned, I could immediately apply to my business and improve it. The pandemic ended up being a blessing in disguise for us because I could make some really big mistakes on a very small scale and tighten things up.”

According to the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, the pandemic has shed light on business owners of color having less access to capital, particularly the personal wealth of assets that are needed to sustain and start a business. The three types of risk for minority-owned businesses are size, industry and access to capital.

Elizabeth Hughes, Senior Director of Insight with Community Foundation for Northern VA said, “Jurisdictions saw a steep decline in both the numbers that were open for business in a given week as well as the revenue they were able to generate. This downward trend started in the spring of 2020 but has remained precarious since.”

Although many businesses are moving forward during this recovery phase, according to a survey from last year only 12% of black and Latino-owned businesses were able to receive PPP loans. Economic Development officials plan to continue to educate and help businesses through their Fire Up program and be proactive, consistent and bring real value to businesses.

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