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Black-Owned Businesses Are Booming Again — and Can They Survive?

Black businesses are on the rise again. After the nation witnessed countless closures of Black businesses during the pandemic, Black entrepreneurship now reportedly is on the upswing. 

This shift, experts say, can be attributed to a number of factors. 

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio: https://www.pexels.com/photo/cheerful-black-waitress-standing-at-counter-3801426/

The number of Black small business owners was 28 percent higher in the third quarter of 2021, than it was pre-pandemic. The number of self-employed Blacks dropped 31 percent from the first quarter of 2020, to the second, according to census data compiled by Robert Fairlie, a research associate at the University of California in Santa Cruz.

One of the cities that has seen a dramatic shift in Black-owned businesses is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Historically, Black businesses have struggled to open and stay open in the city. Prior to 2020, Pittsburgh had the lowest rate of Black business ownership of any large city in the U.S.

Now that’s turning around. In 2020, the local Urban Redevelopment Authority approved more than 350 loans — and Black-owned businesses received almost half. In a normal year, the agency gives out around 30 to 50 loans in total, U.S. News and World Report reported. 

The boost in Black business ownership in Pittsburgh is part of a larger trend. Just over 1.2 million Black Americans were self-employed in February 2022, compared to slightly under 1.1 million in February 2020. A different study from the website domain company GoDaddy found that Black owners have accounted for 26 percent of all websites created for new businesses since the pandemic began, compared to 15 percent before.

“I’m definitely seeing it here on the ground in Pittsburgh …The narrative is not only shifting but our actions and outcomes are starting to trend upward as well,” said Diamonte Walker, deputy executive director of the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, which is investing $5 million into minority- and women-owned businesses.

“Healthy Black businesses are the key to healthy Black communities,” Walker said.

Read full story at Finurah here.

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