Minority-owned businesses are still recovering from pandemic hits | Business – Tucson, Arizona

A In a 2020 U.S. Chamber of Commerce poll, frankly. In May 2020, he said he was concerned about the complete shutdown of 78% of minority-owned businesses, compared with 52% of minority-owned businesses. In the early days of the pandemic, the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said fear showed nationwide economic inequality and could worsen COVID. In many ways, we’ve seen just that in the United States and here in Tucson. And while mandates have been removed and businesses reopen, many of the problems of COVID remain in minority-owned businesses.

“A lot of these small businesses were hit hard because they came from salary to salary. Even if they had savings, they would be using or using their personal credit card right away. Therefore, it takes more time to get into a financially stable situation, ”said Magdalena Verdugo, CEO of the YWCA in southern Arizona. “You’re doing fineIt may have been less affected because it was useful, tech-savvy, and had easy access to resources. Minority-owned companies and women-owned companies were hardest hit. “

Similar difficulties are encountered at the national level by minority-owned companies. According to the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the average revenue of a minority company is $ 110,000 while the average revenue of a minority company is $ 500,000. This means that minority owned companies have far fewer cash reserves or “floats” and are more likely to close during economic turmoil.

“The estimate I’ve heard is that each year of the pandemic is a three to five year recovery,” said Monica Villalovos, President and CEO of AZHCC. “Every business affects the family of its employees, but the reason minority businesses are unique is that 56% of businesses are family owned, so businesses collapse or get sick. In some cases, if the business owner fails, the whole family has no source of income. “

In addition to offering a $ 6,000 SMB Success Grant to its members, AZHCC ​​offers advice to help minority-owned companies optimize their results. For example, one of the members was a restaurant, but AZHCC ​​helped move business to hospitality in order to stay active during the pandemic.

“Working together was the motto. It was important to survive, ”said Villalobos. “They were small and fragile companies, but they were small and agile … we also had to implement a pivot strategy. Corporations are unable to participate as members, so focus on business development. We hired a lot of people and turned them into scholarship holders and business consultants. The Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has been around for over 70 years and that has been a real challenge. What would we do if we couldn’t help our business members? “

Initially, an SME grant of $ 2 million was approved as part of Tucson’s CARES funding. The YWCA was selected by the Women’s Business Center to manage these funds as an SME Continuity Grant. The YWCA Women’s Business Center is one of the few such business centers in the state that provides entrepreneurship and education to women and minority-owned companies.

The majority of applicants were companies owned by women who were able to apply regardless of gender. However, grants have been prioritized not only for minority owned businesses, but also for businesses owned by women, veterans, and people with disabilities.

The YMCA and the South Arizona Community Foundation surveyed small business incomes in February and April 2020 to “fill the gap” in income loss. Initially, companies could make between $ 2,500 and $ 10,000.

“The financing was done very quickly,” said Verdugo. “As we moved on this year, we realized that this was not a short-term pandemic and we have been in this state for a long time, expanding in 2019 compared to the year. “

As more funding and grant options became available, the YWCA eventually distributed more than $ 9 million to local businesses. These grants included Small Business Utility and Rental Assistance, Small Business Continuity Grants, and Rio Nuevo Region grants, all of which were distributed by the end of the year.

“From Christmas to New Years we not only allocated resources, but also worked to get small business accounts on time,” said Verdugo.

However, as they worked with local small businesses, they quickly realized that some needed more than just funding. Small businesses, like some restaurants, were unwilling to switch to new ordering methods online. That’s why the YWCA also helped with accessible software for website development and digital sales.

“There were a lot of companies with limited English so I had to translate it. In many cases, I gave individual coaching throughout the application process, ”says Verdugo. “Now that we have deployed the application in both English and Spanish, it was important to navigate the website and understand the requested document.”

The YWCA helped set up a business account to accept funds, provided computer rooms, and referred them to local financial institutions. Verdugo explains that the YWCA has become and continues to be the information channel for SMEs.

“We have found that small businesses, whether in the hospitality or service sectors, are often severely affected by their lack of access to PPP and EIDL loans,” said Verdugo. Specified. “With PPP loans, it was very clear that we needed a relationship with a financial institution to take advantage of it. This was missing in many SMEs and we did not know how to apply. Or it might not have been created because documentation is missing in the requested format. “

The YWCA eventually confirmed the collaboration between the SMEs it supported, formed a mutually supportive network and shared information on how to survive the pandemic. These relationships remain as the YMCA continues to serve as an information channel for minority owned companies that are still facing problems.

“Minority-owned companies are definitely suffering, but I’m sure they will bounce back and bounce,” said Villalobos. “It’s the nature of entrepreneurs, especially minority entrepreneurs.”

Minority-owned businesses are still recovering from pandemic hits | Business Source link Minority Owned Firms Still Recovering From Pandemic Hits | Companies

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