In this Episode:

Brian discusses the state of black-owned companies with Jill Johnson, co-founder and CEO of IFEL, the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership, an independent, not-for-profit organization that supports inner city economic development through entrepreneurship. They discussed how the pandemic shined a light on issues faced by black entrepreneurs that started long before the lockdown in 2020, and how they would like to see real change in the approach to recognizing and supporting black-owned companies going forward.

Insights from Jill Johnson:

  • The struggles that many black owned businesses face today did not change during the pandemic. They were the same challenges that existed before the pandemic. The reason why there was a disproportionate impact on these businesses is because they were struggling so much before March 2020.
  • If you take a business that has limited access to capital and add workers who are essentially demanding higher wages as the cost for goods and services that they need goes up, it makes for a perfect storm.
  • The pandemic was very difficult on many women entrepreneurs.  However, it did shine a light on the issues that people of color face, especially black businesses with lack of access to capital and women of color dealing with their unique issues.
  • From my vantage point, more people today are willing to have conversations, ask questions, and to understand that these issues are not made up in our heads. These are real problems that have been going on for decades. More people listening and getting involved in finding solutions has been a tremendous part of the pandemic’s silver lining.