Good morning, PCV community,
This past week has brought the plight of our already distressed communities to the center of the national dialogue, with the twin crises of pandemic and economic realities worsened by racial injustice and killings in the black community. Our neighborhoods, our black-owned businesses, are especially hurting right now. PCV stands with the black community, as we have since our founding, redoubling our efforts to address inequity and injustice now more than ever.
While many are standing with the community in the street, you can also help build black wealth with your dollars. Juneteenth is in just under three weeks, and you can start supporting black-owned businesses in our communities today and every day. Check out Bay Area Black Market, BAOBAB, and Support Black Owned. We also encourage you to shop with our black-owned small business clients.
For all of our black business owners and those in affected communities reading this, PCV is here in solidarity to help you reopen safely and build back better, when you’re ready.
Over the last few weeks, states and counties across the country have started reopening their economies to different degrees, and over the next several weeks many more will start. Business owners who have paused their livelihoods are now wondering if they should reopen, when to do it, and how to do it safely and cost-effectively. It’s critical right now to understand how to reopen in ways that balance the health of your business with the health of your customers, your workers, and yourself. Join PCV’s upcoming webinar for factors to consider in re-opening safely, strategize with peer advisors and business owners, and tell us what help you need in the road to recovery ahead.
Our BusinessAdvising.org platform can connect you with a pro bono business expert who can help answer your questions and help you plan to reopen gradually over the coming weeks. If you’re in California, our small business lending program remains open and available. If you need support to scale up your inventory, make changes to your space or through a business pivot, or are ready to rehire and need the capital to do it affordably, please get in touch.
Throughout 2019, unemployment was at a record low and job growth had been steady for 10 years. But a decade of growth built on bad jobs and ignoring those who fall out of the job market entirely has had implications for our whole country. While this crisis has created enormous challenges, it also represents a unique opportunity to change a system where working people deemed “essential” are earning poverty-level wages and live without paid leave or health benefits for themselves or their families.
The opportunity to build back better provides a new opportunity for the field of impact investing to step up its game, for business leaders to put their stakeholders and the environment first, and for governments to improve social safety nets, better regulate the worst excesses of capital markets, and reduce the vulnerability of so many to shortened boom and bust cycles.
We’ve just completed Pacific Community Ventures’ 2019 Impact Report, which details how our programs can empower small business owners, working people, and community-focused investors across the country through a good jobs agenda. We help small business owners grow and create good jobs through our “Good Jobs, Good Business” model that combines affordable loans with pro-bono advising, tools, and incentives to create quality jobs, our national BusinessAdvising.org mentoring platform, and social impact evaluation and field-building research. This report highlights our progress before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and shows how our model can serve as a blueprint for an inclusive recovery. While it’s wonderful to see the impact made in the lives of our small business owner clients, what’s essential now is to help them keep this impact on track, recover, and build back even stronger and more resilient than before.
Now more than ever, advancing good jobs is essential to prioritize employee health alongside business health, and address long-existing racial and economic wealth gaps, exacerbated by this crisis.
Our Impact In 2019: Investing in Small Business
- 770 businesses across 50 states received access to capital and mentorship
- 68% of supported companies grew their revenues
- 12% year-over-year median revenue growth at supported companies
- 29% job growth at our companies surpassing national and state rates (1.2%)
- 4,192 jobs created and retained at the businesses we served
Our Impact In 2019: Investing in Good Jobs
- Average wages at supported small businesses were $22/hour (full-time) and $18/hour (part-time)
- $145,768,836 in wages paid to working people
- 52% of full-time workers at supported businesses are eligible for health benefits, 33% are eligible for retirement benefits, and 65% have paid time off
- 61% of businesses provide workers with schedules at least two weeks in advance
Our Impact In 2019: Investing in Communities
- $33.6 billion in investment capital evaluated across asset classes
- Over $886 million deployed or managed using our customized Impact Measurement and Management frameworks
Our Impact In 2019: Investing in Racial and Social Equity
- 80% of the businesses we funded were located in, or hiring from, low-income communities across California
- 81% of the small business owners we work with are women or people of color
- 76% of workers at supported businesses are people of color
Our Good Jobs, Good Business model is an effective way to prioritize employee health alongside business health. We also recognize that we can’t build back better without centering racial equity and local community needs first. The needs of women business owners, Native business owners, business owners of color, and immigrant business owners, as determined by them, must be part of the recovery for it to be more inclusive and intentional, prevent more small businesses from closing in the next few months, especially those who already have least access to capital.
Last month I attended Mission Investors Exchange, where I discussed how place-based efforts need to center racial equity in order to address historic inequities and create inclusive communities. I was heartened to hear more foundations and impact investors talk about the importance of place-based investing and deploying capital and PRIs faster to CDFI lenders like us, especially given how many of our small and diverse-led businesses still haven’t accessed the PPP successfully. I’m hopeful that these will not just stay good conversations on a group Zoom chat, but translate into action in the very near future, as more small businesses deplete their runway, most of whom will never re-open.
So what can you do to ensure that good jobs are an essential part of the inclusive recovery agenda, and that black and brown small business owners are an intentional focus of our lending now more than ever? Join our Small Business Support Circle. For more information please contact us here.
Since the COVID-19 crisis began, we at PCV have had a 1500% increase in traffic to our website each day, received over 600 loan requests, and our team is fielding hundreds of phone calls for our non-SBA small business loans. Demand for our pro bono BusinessAdvising.org platform has also increased 5X, and it continues to be one of the few resources that’s readily available while sources of capital dry up or stay out of reach, especially for entrepreneurs of color, immigrant entrepreneurs, women entrepreneurs, and those from historically underinvested areas.
Through the Small Business Support Circle, companies, investors, organizations, and foundations invested in the success of small businesses will help PCV significantly scale the reach and impact of the program, and extend it to their own communities — including those they serve, employ, or do business with, especially those who can use the additional support this year to recover from the COVID-19 crisis.
Be safe, be well.
President & CEO, Pacific Community Ventures