Prior to the global pandemic, the relatively high small business creation rates among entrepreneurs of color were a bright spot in a period of declining US entrepreneurship. But small businesses have endured some of the hardest stresses of the pandemic. Businesses owned by entrepreneurs of color have been particularly impacted by declining revenues, and despite government efforts to get money into people’s hands, many small businesses have not received the support they need. This is partly a problem with the delivery systems used: programs that flow through banks miss those that have historically been underserved. Fortunately, there are lenders who serve these businesses and communities: Community Development Financial Institutions. CDFIs are mission-driven lenders that serve the parts of America that too often get left behind, including people of color, returning veterans, new citizens, and more.
In this conversation with Bill Bynum (Chief Executive Officer, HOPE, and Aspen Institute Trustee), Michael Barr (Dean, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan), Nicole Jordan-Reed (Owner and Founder, Nicole Jordan Catering, LLC), and moderator Helaine Olen (Opinion Writer, The Washington Post), we will explore the role CDFIs can play in supporting entrepreneurs and advancing equity during this uncertain time, and how policymakers, investors, philanthropy, and others can support the work of CDFIs.
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