COVID-19, two years later | Small businesses across NYC are recovering, although recovery remains slow
COVID-19, two years later |  Small businesses across NYC are recovering, although recovery remains slow

COVID-19, two years later | Small businesses across NYC are recovering, although recovery remains slow

Small and minority-owned businesses throughout the city that survived the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic that hit New York City two years ago are beginning to rebuild, but not without extreme challenges.

Alone in Brooklyn, a estimated 20% of small businesses closed forever due to pandemic-related economic pitfalls. Many of these businesses were owned and operated by blacks and browns – communities most affected by the pandemic.

That Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is an organization that helps equip underinvested communities with capital, strategy, and business acumen to become places where low- and moderate-income (LMI) Americans can succeed.

“[During the pandemic] “What we saw very quickly was a worsening of the already difficult circumstances of small businesses, especially minorities and colored communities, the already difficult conditions under which these businesses operated,” Valerie White, CEO of LISC NYC, told amNew York. March 11 “Traditionally, they lack access to capital [and] often operates on a monthly basis. ”

Since April 2020, when the pandemic began to change everyday life as we know it, LISC NYC has been investing in small minority businesses using a three-pillar strategy.

The pillars include radical healing that counteracts racial biases and inequality, including through community safety, creative place-making, and art initiatives; including economic transformation, prioritizing human talent, public health, diverse businesses, innovation and public infrastructure; and sustainable wealth generation in color communities, including through ownership, asset building and career ladders.

When the pandemic first hit NYC, small businesses including Black and Brown-owned companies relied heavily on government-funded investments to survive. Some of these assists included Payroll protection programs (PPP), which was intended to provide small businesses with the financial resources needed to maintain their salaries, hire back employees who may have been laid off, and cover existing overhead.

However, PPP loans expired quickly or were inaccessible to many minority-owned companies. To keep businesses afloat today, White believes that officials in the city’s governments, including Mayor Adams and his administration, must still invest and support these companies, which are vital community assets.

“Right now you need to give money to deal with some of the major arrears such as commercial arrears – which can be inflexible – combined with the technical support for long-term viability, as well as look at connection issues and bring [these businesses] into the current digital state, ”White said. “And it requires very specific and conscious analysis on the part of the city, but also cooperation with financial institutions and economic development organizations.”

In the summer of 2020, after the high-profile police force that killed blacks and browns like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, there was increased interest in investing and supporting minority-owned companies, but White believes interest was limited to that time period.

“George Floyd, watching that video over and over again was one [example] “It made an entire nation say ‘we’re sad about this,’ we all knew it, but when you look at it, it’s going to be a different way society addresses it,” White said. that, was what we were trying to do, to make the most of the moment to continue to stand on this platform of racial and economic equality, and what we continue to do is make it part of our message and our voice. on a regular basis.”

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