The goal of a program through the Community Loan Fund is to connect with and support more minority-owned businesses in New Hampshire.
The Community-Driven Economic Empowerment Initiative is a pilot program launched to increase access to technical assistance, training and loans for black and brown business owners.
Zachery Palmer – community business lender with the Community Loan Fund – said many businesses may not need a loan or access to capital, but could be looking for advice or the opportunity to help create a network of minority-owned businesses in the state.
“It’s really important to have representation,” Palmer said, “specifically for new Americans and people of color, who are basically a generation or two behind their white counterparts in knowing what’s available for help, and having a great relationship with your bank, and your CPA and your lawyers, et cetera.”
New Hampshire’s population is more than 90% white, and Palmer said while that’s slowly changing over time, BIPOC business owners don’t encounter many people at financial firms and banks who look like them.
James McKim, president of the Manchester branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said it was important for business owners to identify the needs of their communities themselves.
“How could we really bring the resources needed for business success to minority-owned businesses,” McKim said, “that are not tied to businesses and the economic development ecosystem of the state and their communities. “.
An analysis from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that black and brown businesses were much harder hit in the early months of the pandemic — small black-owned businesses saw a 41% decline.
Even so, only 20% of Paycheck Protection Program loans reached areas with a high concentration of Black-owned businesses.
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