It’s the responsibility of everyone—from investors to lenders to retailers—to make sure the path to business ownership is available to all entrepreneurs.
The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the severe inequalities faced by Black and Latinx entrepreneurs, who have been disproportionately affected by the economic downturn. Many of these business owners have had to cease operations because they relied too heavily on in-person commerce and too little on e-commerce. They also have gotten inadequate government support. “Only 12 percent of Black or Latinx business owners have received the Paycheck Protection Program amount they requested, further distancing them from the capital they need to survive and grow,” says Lee Henderson, EY Americas Private Leader.
To help address these issues, EY is launching the Entrepreneur Access Network. This immersive program will expose Black- and Latinx-owned companies to the firm’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and resources as well as investors.
“We believe that by providing access to education, capital and networks—and expanding those networks to include more Black and Latinx business owners—we help entrepreneurs sustain success,” says Henderson.
Over the past 10 years, minority business enterprises accounted for more than 50 percent of the 2 million new businesses started in the United States, and they created millions of jobs in the process. Henderson warns against failing to provide these companies with the support they need to grow.
“These companies won’t scale, and that’s going to reduce their potential to employ others and to create wealth and prosperity for not only their owners and other stakeholders but also for their communities,” says Henderson.
With 10 million minority-owned businesses generating nearly $700 billion in annual revenue, it’s the responsibility of everyone—including investors and lenders—to make sure the path to business ownership is accessible to all.
“Opportunity afforded to any entrepreneur must be afforded to every entrepreneur,” says Henderson.