Updated: May 2, 2020
What is really going on with the federal government and many black-owned small businesses that are having trouble with access to the government's emergency Paycheck Protection Program loans? Even with a fresh round of CARES Act funding that now includes $60 billion in set-asides for minority and other underserved borrowers.
The Coronavirus loan program, managed by the Small Business Administration, is supposed to offer up to $10 million in loans to each customer which can turn into grants that don't have to be repaid if certain rules are followed, such as using most of it for payroll, plus rent and utilities.
“I hear a lot about making America great again. In order to have a great America, there has to be a great black America. In order to have that, we need great black businesses. We need access to capital!"
This program has been fraught with so-called administrative glitches and controversies since its hastily April 2, 2020 midnight inception. The money ran out in a matter of minutes due companies who had the resources and the help of their bankers, and bullied their way to the front, meanwhile, mom-and-pop businesses were left with nothing, especially black owned small businesses.
Despite it's so-called good intentions, this government's emergency relief program leaves many feeling left behind. Black business leaders say the small-business programs need to do more to reach underserved borrowers. However this is really on the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Take Kim Harris and her partners for example, who opened the craft beer bar and pub Harlem Hops in New York in 2018, which became a neighborhood hang spot. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they were one of the many businesses impacted by the closures, losing money just to stay afloat. Harris and her partners, all graduates of HBCUs, applied for funding in the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the $2.1 trillion bill that along with other relief programs, was supposedly designed to prop up small businesses and save jobs during the public health crisis. “We applied for everything,” Harris told NBC News. “And were denied for everything.” Make America great again, which America are they referring to, BLACK AMERICANS are all too familiar with the true meaning of this statement.