The African American Leadership Forum (AALF) has partnered with the Black Women’s Wealth Alliance (BWWA), Just Law LLCMinnesota Black Chamber of Commerce (MNBCC), Northside Economic Opportunity Network (NEON), Neighborhood Development Center (NDC), Social Impact Strategies Group (SISG), and West Broadway Business and Area Coalition (WBC) to form the Black Business Support Collective (BBSC) to address the  myriad challenges facing Minnesota’s Black business community as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In April 2020, AALF and the organizations in the Black Business Support Collective came together to create a survey to get data about the impact of the pandemic on our state’s Black businesses by asking business owners from across the state to share their experiences. Findings from the survey will be used to inform the work that BBSC engages in, such as identifying strategies, tools, and resources to meet the need for ongoing and comprehensive support and resources expressed by Black businesses and entrepreneurs across Minnesota.

The members of the collective are utilizing their experiences, connections and resources to help Black businesses survive the pandemic by working to meet the complex issues and challenges these businesses are facing due to social distancing, widespread closures and reductions in business operating hours, as well as the ongoing health, economic, and cultural impacts of the virus and the ways in which they have been exacerbated by police brutality and systemic racism in the African American community.

 

Survey Findings: How the Pandemic Is Affecting Black-Owned Businesses in Minnesota:

Eighty-five Black businesses completed the form and findings from the survey provides more information about what these businesses are experiencing and what they need to cope with the pandemic. Of the businesses surveyed, most were within the 1-5 employee range; 43%  had an average monthly revenue of $1000 -$5,000; 20% had an average monthly revenue of $5,000 to $10,000; and 14% had an average monthly revenue of $10,000 to $30,000. The business owners who completed the survey operate primarily in the health & beauty, professional services, healthcare, construction, and food services industries.

In addition, the businesses we gathered data from are located across the Twin Cities and Minnesota; with 42% in Minneapolis, 9% in Saint Paul, 6% in Brooklyn Center, 5% in Burnsville, and 32% in undisclosed locations.

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on African American-owned business statewide. Sixty-two percent of the businesses surveyed have experienced reductions in their revenue, 40% of Black business owners are struggling to pay their bills, 35% of Black-owned businesses have closed temporarily due to social distancing mandates and closures, and 21% are at risk of closing permanently. In addition, 14% of Black-owned businesses have seen a reduction in staff and 13% are at risk for eviction.

The Black Business Support Collective is working to address the issues presented in the survey to ensure that the economic ecosystem of Black business ownership continues to thrive in Minnesota.

Contact Marcus Owens at marcus@aalftc.org with questions or for information about how you can support the collective.