Times of crisis force us to dig deep in so many ways, and test us in new ways. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a magnifying glass over structural inequity that is generations’ old, and the fallout threatens yet another generation of businesses owned by entrepreneurs of color. The same entrepreneurs that have always had the hardest time accessing capital and business advice are now jumping through multiple hurdles and relief program applications while keeping their businesses and workers afloat. It also shows the devastation that can occur when government, philanthropic, and investor support is too paralyzed to show up and meet the needs of the small businesses and communities of color, where they are, and in time.
For small businesses – the culture keepers of our communities – the last year and a half has been a true crisis of survival. When COVID-19 hit, demand for PCV’s advising and capital grew almost 10,000%, and we were determined to not only keep our virtual doors open and our capital flowing, but to respond in a multitude of ways. We led an Open Letter from dozens of CDFI CEOs to our foundation, corporate, and government funders to step up immediately with free or affordable capital to help us keep our clients’ doors open. We co-founded the $150M California Rebuilding Fund – the largest, multi-stakeholder public-private partnership launched for small businesses anywhere in 2020. We used our platform to publish pieces on how blended finance was critical for investors to advance racial justice and move toward Restorative Capital. We launched our Small Business Support Circle to bring together a coalition of like-minded companies and organizations to get millions of dollars of free business advice into the hands of Black and Brown entrepreneurs.
In 2021 and beyond the PCV team is doubling down on our commitment to ensure that Building Forward Better means that Black and Brown entrepreneurs can start and grow businesses, create good jobs that address racial and gender wealth gaps, and grow the wealth of their families and communities, free of systemic barriers that have held back generations. That is our Good Jobs Agenda: to bring restorative capital and support that fosters wealth-building for our BIPOC- and women-owned small businesses, their workers, and their communities. We also thank our staff, Board, and stakeholders who have stayed committed to that journey over the past year.