Happy new year to our PCV community!
If you’re anything like me, you’ve likely spent some time this month trying to make sense of the economic and jobs reports coming out (like this one) that show unemployment at its lowest point in a generation, a booming stock market, and a war for talent among corporations and startups. You’re trying to make sense of it because, all around us, especially here in the Bay Area, you see rampant homelessness, families falling further and further behind, and armies of gig workers who were supposed to prosper in the new economy but are often working two or more low-wage jobs to barely make ends meet.
Amidst widening income and wealth inequality, the decline of jobs that afford working people and their families dignity, financial security, and economic mobility is one of the biggest challenges facing our country. Resolving this challenge will require a coordinated, multi-faceted approach, including workforce development, changes by large employers, and improvements to state and federal policy. Small businesses, like those we at PCV lend to and advise, are an essential part of the solution.
As part of our vision to make good-quality jobs the norm, we also have to equip small businesses with the practical tools and resources they need to offer good jobs in a way that also boosts their bottom line. We know that small business owners want to provide good jobs for workers – but they are often uncertain of how to do so in ways that make sense for their business. In our new online guide, Good Jobs, Good Business, Pacific Community Ventures removes the guesswork from creating good jobs and strengthening your business.
February is Black History Month, which has us here at PCV thinking about the amazing communities of Black business owners we work with here in California, and across the country. African-American women are 300% more likely to launch a new business than anyone else, and represent the fastest-growing demographic of entrepreneurs in the US. In fact, women of color account for 89% of the new businesses opened by women over the past year. These small business owners have long been wealth builders in our communities, creating local jobs, and have much potential to grow their companies further.
While African-Americans are more likely to start a business than others, access to capital for them to sustain and grow their businesses remains a persistent challenge. Several studies point out that Black business owners are denied financing more often because they have less wealth, lower credit scores, and no or low collateral, etc. And when they are approved, often it’s with a higher interest rate. Another reason? Many entrepreneurs of color say they lack mentors — yet mentoring can make a big difference. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration 70% of small business owners with a mentor thrive, with revenues increasing by an average of 20% each year. This is why a big priority for PCV this year is to expand the reach of our Business Advising platform to more entrepreneurs nationally, and the delivery of our Good Jobs toolkit through the platform. Please join us here if you are interested in becoming an advisor to deliver the toolkit with us in 2020.
One of the small business owners we piloted our toolkit with is Donald Jacko of DAD Services, an Oakland, California-based janitorial company that specializes in providing top-notch commercial cleaning for San Francisco Bay Area businesses. The company is a black-owned, family-run business. DAD Services has a diverse group of clients including medical institutions, investigative services, and security companies at various locations. As part of his business philosophy, DAD Services aims to employ disadvantaged people, particularly formerly incarcerated individuals. Donald followed the toolkit’s advice by asking his employees a simple, powerful question: “How can our company be better?” Through these conversations, he grew to understand there was a need for middle management at their company, so the company began interviewing employees for these roles. Coming out of these interviews, DAD Services ultimately promoted four employees internally, rather than hiring new staff, and trained their newly promoted employees to become effective managers.
If you want to support more black-owned businesses like DAD Services, visit Support Black Owned here to find businesses in your city or state. There’s also an app! In addition, there’s Official Black Wall Street, founded by entrepreneur Mandy Bowman in 2015, which has already gained notice for its directory of black-owned or black-led businesses. If you’re in the East Bay like us, check out the Bay Area Black-Owned Market.
Thank you for your support!
President & CEO, Pacific Community Ventures