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Before America’s entrepreneurship community was ravaged by COVID-19, access to capital was top-of-mind for current and prospective business owners alike. And amid declining startup rates nationwide, there was ample cause for concern.
That was before the world was devastated by the pandemic — before 22% of U.S. businesses shuttered in just three months. That includes 41% of Black-owned businesses, according to a new study, likely the result of PPP technicalities, which left 95% of black firms ineligible for funding.
The country has changed dramatically in such a short time. Beyond the historic impact of COVID-19, issues of systemic racism and inequity have pierced the public conversation to an unprecedented degree.
We entered 2020 with the goal to get policymakers talking about the pressing needs of entrepreneurs and the disparities that exist for so many communities. After years of silence, these themes echo loudly in our national dialogue. We’re proud so many of you have taken to Twitter to amplify these important messages.
And so, as the world aims to rebound from historic unemployment rates, and as entrepreneurs look to regain their footing in the months ahead, it’s critical that government uses this unique moment to create the pro-entrepreneurship climate that should have existed long ago.
And it starts with funding.
In the coming months, policymakers across the country will be developing plans to restart the American economy. Some already exist.
America’s New Business Plan was created to inform these proposals, ensuring that Democrats and Republicans alike aren’t neglecting entrepreneurs and are considering approaches that deal with the systemic issues that COVID-19 has only amplified.
From a capital perspective, the long-term rebound requires expanded access to funding through patient capital, innovative investment models and technologies, financing guarantees, user-centered service design, community banking, and other means.
We go into greater detail in America’s New Business Plan, which you can now navigate through on this website.
But reading is only half the battle. It’s important we sustain these conversations and get these recommendations into the hands of policymakers. Recently, we shared our COVID-19 response plan with elected leaders across the country — and the response was positive.
Now we’re looking to our incredible network of entrepreneurs and advocates to keep the momentum going. We invite you to share the Start Us Up response plan with your policymakers using our two-step Twitter tool.
As with anything, this will require work. But this is our moment.
Policymakers are talking. Help turn talk into action.