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GroupOn, National Black Chamber partner to spotlight challenges facing Black-owned businesses

TOPLINES

  • A Groupon and National Black Chamber of Commerce survey of more than 400 Black small business owners found that 75% have seen an increase in business since protests sparked by the death of George Floyd began

  • 80% said they faced more challenges launching their businesses due to their race

  • 74% said they’ve had fewer opportunities due to a lack of capital investment and resources targeted towards Black communities 

  • 76% of Black-owned businesses said they were negatively impacted by COVID-19, but only 5% of those that applied for Paycheck Protection Program loan received one

Chicago, Ill. -- GroupOn has partnered with the National Black Chamber of Commerce to recognize and celebrate the important contributions of Black-owned businesses to the American economy. With August being National Black Business Month, more people are looking for ways to support Black communities. According to a new survey commissioned by Groupon and the National Black Chamber of Commerce, 75% of Black small businesses have seen an uptick in customers since the beginning of June. While the increase in business has been welcome, particularly in light of the devastating economic impact of COVID-19, the study also reinforced the inequities that Black entrepreneurs continue to face.


The poll surveyed more than 400 Black small business owners to better understand the challenges they face, why they decided to become entrepreneurs, how they achieved success and the most important issues they want to see addressed in the 2020 presidential election. In conjunction with the survey, Groupon rolled out a month-long series of virtual events hosted in partnership with its home state of Illinois, to shine a light on challenges faced and to find ways to support Black-owned businesses across the country.

“We’re thrilled to celebrate Black Business Month as this community has been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and traditionally suffers from a lack of access to adequate capital and resources,” said Aaron Cooper, Interim CEO, Groupon. “One of the many ways that we’re translating our support for Black Lives Matter into meaningful action is by highlighting and championing the success of Black-owned businesses and looking for more ways to connect them to our diverse customer base. We hope that everyone will join us in supporting the more than 2 million Black-owned businesses in this country at a time when they need us the most.”

Overcoming Challenges

According to the business owners who participated in the survey, 80% said they faced more challenges launching their businesses due to their race. Nearly 60% of respondents said they experienced some form of racism or bias, and half of the survey participants said that the government stood in their way when it came to opening their businesses. Approximately three out of four Black business owners said that they’ve had fewer chances due to a lack of capital investment and resources. 

Disproportionate COVID Impact

The disparities between Black and white-owned businesses were highlighted by the devastating economic impact of COVID-19. While 76% of Black-owned businesses said they were negatively impacted by COVID-19, only 5% of those that applied for a Paycheck Protection Program loan received one. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), as many as 41% of Black small businesses were forced to close permanently due to COVID-19 compared to just 17% of white-owned businesses.

Becoming the Boss

79% of survey respondents said they’re more proud than ever to be a Black business owner. Black business owners said that pursuing their passions, gaining more control over their futures, being their own bosses, having flexible schedules and helping their local communities were the top five reasons why they went into business for themselves.  

Achieving Success

Nearly half (47%) of the survey respondents said it took between three and six years for their businesses to get off the ground and become successful. While 84% said they were held to a different standard than other ethnicities, putting in hard work, taking pride in the quality of their product or service, having an innovative business idea, hiring the right people and building strong community relationships were identified as some of the keys to their success. 

Making Their Voices Heard in the 2020 Election

Most Black business owners, 74%, are hopeful about the future of race relations in America, but they still want to see the issue addressed by the 2020 U.S. presidential candidates. The top issues that Black business owners want to see addressed in the 2020 campaign are race relations, small business support, police brutality, the economy and healthcare. 

Taking Action

Groupon, which has seen searches for Black-owned businesses increase more than 300 percent on mobile since early June, is urging consumers to celebrate National Black Business Month by supporting businesses in their local communities as well as by making a donation to help provide new Black entrepreneurs with much needed access to capital. The company has a curated collection of hundreds of Black-owned businesses across the United States and will be featuring these merchants across its mobile, online and social channels throughout the month of August. In addition, the company has partnered with Kiva.org––a renowned crowdfunding platform––to raise funds from consumers in support of a Black-owned business fund that will help create opportunity and unlock investment capital for Black merchants across the U.S.


Throughout the month, Groupon will continue its #PassTheMic social media campaign where the company has turned over its collective U.S. audience of 22 million followers to amplify and uplift Black voices and merchant success stories. 


To help bring more attention to the disparities Black entrepreneurs face and resources available to help their businesses succeed, the company is partnering with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) to offer three virtual panel discussions for merchants during the month of August that bring together a national audience of government officials and Black business community leaders. 


The three panel discussions will be held on the following dates:

  • Doing Business with Government: Fostering an inclusive and competitive business environment that will help Black business enterprises increase their capacity, grow revenue, and enhance credentials. (August 13) 

  • Black Business Lending––Accessing Capital & Tax Incentives: How Black businesses can access financial resources and tax incentives to scale and grow a sustainable business that increases overall economic opportunity and growth in communities of color. (August 20)

  • Navigating COVID-19 and Civil Unrest––Federal and State Financial Resources for Black Businesses: How Black businesses can take advantage of federal/state COVID-19 grant/loan relief programs and rebuild damaged businesses post-civil unrest. (August 27)

For more information about the Groupon and Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity virtual panels, please visit gr.pn/nbbmmerchant.

For more information on joining the National Black Chamber of Commerce, please visit https://www.nationalbcc.org/join-us-16261/membership-benefits.

To find Black-owned businesses that you can support in your community, please visit gr.pn/celebrate

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