Dear PCV Community,
There are two reflections on my mind as we kick off March. One, March marks Women’s History Month — but also one year of social isolation and shelter-in-place restrictions for most of us around the country, starting right here in our Bay Area backyard. This past year has meant hard work, pivots, and resilience, and forced so many of us and our small businesses to rethink how we “show up” in our work.
And two, taking the introspection our team embarked on during a 28-day habit-changing exercise through Black History Month forward, to be even more intentional about building Beloved Community through all our economic and racial justice work. What might a Black Futures Month look like next year if we all collectively contribute to building forward better this year? This time next year, will we be able to say we’ve shown up and started changing the system for Black Americans and for women of color — the fastest growing group of American entrepreneurs?
Women of color account for 89% of the new businesses opened every day. Black women are 300% more likely to launch a new business than a white person, and Latinas are 180% more likely. At the same time, we know that the pandemic has hit women – and women of color – hardest of all. The National Women’s Law Center reported that all 140,000 jobs lost in the US in December 2020 were by women, most by women of color. That’s a stunning statistic, and a sign of the childcare crisis wage-earning women especially are facing in this pandemic. During 2020 about 17% of white-owned businesses closed, but 41% of Black-owned businesses closed. Latinx business owners dropped by 32%, and Asian business owners dropped by 26%. We also now know that 95% of Black-owned businesses that applied for PPP were denied.
Women of color disproportionately hold low-paying essential jobs (53% of workers in the food service industry and 80% of workers in the health and social assistance field), therefore being ineligible for benefits and more susceptible to layoffs. Since February 2020, women have lost 5.4 million jobs. They are leaving the workforce at four times the rate of men.
This is why we at PCV have been working hard to ensure that anyone talking about an “inclusive recovery” or “inclusive capitalism” is centering women of color, and their essential needs for good-quality jobs — because ensuring a financial health and wellbeing floor under our essential workers is an absolutely essential change we must all do collectively to support workers alongside a small business recovery – if we want to build forward better.
Through our Good Jobs, Good Business model PCV has been working to help small business owners across the country stay open safely, pivot, and create good jobs with higher wages and benefits that actually help small businesses grow sustainably. We’re doing this by combining fair and affordable capital and grants with free expert business advisors and “good jobs” tools and coaching.
The biggest way we’re accomplishing this is through our Small Business Support Circle. Pacific Community Ventures is bringing together a rapidly growing coalition of companies and organizations invested in the success and resilience of small businesses across the United States. This past month we welcomed Work Day, Startups Give Back, and Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado. Stay tuned for several more announcements in the coming days!
Members of the PCV Small Business Support Circle are closing the advice gap by getting millions of dollars of free advice into the hands of job-creating small business owners by leveraging and scaling the unique BusinessAdvising.org pro bono platform to provide small businesses the support they need to survive and thrive, empowering workers, and the communities they serve nationwide. And they’re activating their employees to engage directly.
If you’re reading this and your company or organization isn’t yet a member, we need you. Join our Support Circle to help more small business owners through what is STILL a crisis.
How can you help women and minority-owned small business owners Build Forward Better?
- Join us today as a volunteer advisor
- Shop with women-owned small businesses. Click here for a growing list of almost 1,000 of PCVs own clients
- Support policies that will benefit women by calling your members of Congress and asking them to raise the Federal minimum wage to at least $15 per hour.
Lastly, one year into this COVID pandemic and the social isolation or trauma many of us have gone through, I welcome you to join me in turning March into Mindfulness month (a retake from March Madness!), taking a few minutes every day for self-care, and encouraging your teams to do the same.
President & CEO, Pacific Community Ventures