Black Business and Economic Stories for Dec. 28th 2020 to Jan. 3, 2021

Top Stories

  • How new stimulus package can help minority businesses (The Philadelphia Inquirer) 
  • First year of legal marijuana in Illinois generated big bucks but no new minority license holders (Chicago Tribune). The Illinois market is limited to just 21 growers’ licenses, which restrict supply of growers, especially minorities. 
  • Black-Owned farm allows individuals to rent spaces to grow crops (WKBW). The goal is to provide fresh produce for people in the community.
  • The “She-cession” Is Very Real for Minority Women (Bloomberg) – Black and Latina women are affected the most.
  • Tulsa begins race riot remembrance (Baltimore Sun)
  • Minority-owned companies waited months for loans, data shows (AP)


Protest / Social Justice

  • Year 2020 marked by pandemic and protests (The Bay State Banner) — George Floyd murder kicked off wave of social change

Coronavirus / Covid-19 / Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

  • December stimulus package includes $12B for minority-owned businesses (News Channel 20)
  • PPP data shows Black-owned businesses received fewer loans, despite efforts (The Business Journals)
  • Minority-owned companies waited months for loans, data shows (AP)
  • How new stimulus package can help minority businesses (The Philadelphia Inquirer) 
  • Black Lives Matter calls for ‘monthly’ stimulus checks for families crushed by pandemic (Fox News
  • The Second Stimulus Still Won’t Show Many Blacks the Money (EurWeb) — The COVID stimulus disparity was nowhere more evident than in the plight of small Black-owned businesses.
  • Faith in COVID-19 vaccine facing uphill battle in Black community (San Jose Spotlight) — Chapman and Black organizations across the Bay Area have joined forces to create COVID-19 Black, a project that aims to help educate and protect African Americans through the pandemic.
  • 5 changes to PPP loans that will affect your business’ eligibility (Business Insider) – Potential changes to PPP loans include Improved access for women- and minority-led businesses
  • State Selects Black LA Firm to Disburse $500 Million in COVID Relief Grants (Sacramento Observer)

Jobs / Workers / Unemployment / Gig Economy

  • How the Pandemic Has Been Devastating for Children From Low-Income Families (New York Times)
  • Black Homeowners Struggle to Get Insurers to Pay Claims (New York Times)
  • Unemployment Claims Remain High as Millions Still Struggle to Find Work (New York Times)
  • The “She-cession” Is Very Real for Minority Women (Bloomberg) – Black and Latina women are affected the most.
  • Black Lives Matter calls for monthly stimulus checks amid pandemic (NY Post) — A one-time $600 stimulus payment isn’t going to cut it, according to Black Lives Matter — which is demanding the government issue monthly checks instead.
  • Minimum wage goes up in South Bay — with mixed reaction (San Jose Spotlight) — The pandemic has crippled much of the service industry, which employs a disproportionate number of low-wage and minimum-wage workers, many of whom are Black and Latino.

Inequality / Systemic Racism / Economic Justice

  • The racial divide of Black and white (Dawn) — In 2016, the median net wealth of white households in America was $171,000 whereas for Black households it was $17,150, according to a statistic by Glassdoor.
  • Coronavirus Woes Close Decades-Old Diner In Brooklyn (Patch) — Mega Bites diner on Dekalb Avenue has been closed “indefinitely” since Christmas Eve.
  • A winning attitude (The Bay State Banner) – No Black baseball entrepreneurs will be compensated for their losses inflicted because of racist policies.
  • Cryptocurrency startup underpaid women and black employees, data shows (Silicon Valley Business Journal) — The fast-growing cryptocurrency startup Coinbase has been rattled in recent months by tensions between executives and employees who said they were being treated unfairly because of their race or gender.
  • What the pandemic has done to racial inequality in North Carolina (Charlotte Observer)

Black Business

Black Business General / Interesting Businesses Stories

  • To expand the economy, invest in Black businesses (Brookings)
  • Shelley Nelson column: COVID-19 colors local news (Superior Telegram) — In the face of a pandemic, new entrepreneurs found their opportunity to fill gaps where restaurants had closed.
  • For Black-Owned Businesses In Kansas City Hit By The Coronavirus, This Nonprofit Has Been A Lifesave (KBIA) — G.I.F.T., which stands for “Generating Income for Tomorrow,” hopes to dole out $180,000 in grants by the time its fiscal year ends in April.
  • 2020 Utah County businesses persevere during COVID-19 pandemic (Daily Herald) — Podium and the Utah Black Chamber announced a partnership in July to create Utah’s first directory intended to find and connect consumers with local Black-owned businesses.
  • Black-owned local boxing gym selected for program to keep them rolling through the punches (News 4 Nashville) — Businesses had to apply and nine black-owned businesses were selected as winners in Middle Tennessee for the program. Four of them are from Nashville.
  • Best of 2020: Minority businesses: Wounded by COVID, but key to inclusive revival (CT Mirror) – Tia Woods created what she called a “modern consignment boutique” called “ITS the Room,” a kind of mini-mall where minority entrepreneurs, crafters and artists could set up shop.
  • Miami Times spotlights Black Business in 2021 (The Miami Times) – Links to various Black Miami businesses
  • NAACP Stimulus Fund Aids 20 Black-Owned Businesses (Pasadena Now) — The NAACP Stimulus Fund has awarded $2,000 checks to 20 Black-owned businesses, according to a press release.
  • Black Is Beautiful initiative brewed up by Weathered Souls cofounder still going strong (San Antonio Report) —
  • Black Business Directory Launched By Color of Change (Black Star News) — Color Of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization, recently launched the Black Business Green Book.
  • City of Jackson to develop program aimed at helping disadvantaged minority business owners (Clarion Ledger)
  • Barnes & Noble sold few Black authors, so Cocoa couple opened Brevard’s only ‘urban’ bookstore | Rangel (Florida Today) — Essence of Knowledge, Brevard County’s only bookstore specializing in Black authors and stories, was born out of a market need, a dream and pain.
  • Asher & Bee owner will open Pensacola’s only Black-owned grocery store in January (PNJ) — In one month, Pensacola’s only Black-owned grocery store will open up its doors on North Ninth Avenue.
  • Inspirational Kwanzaa Coffee Blend Released by Small New Harlem Coffee Company (PR Newswire) — New Harlem Coffee is a small Harlem based coffee company sourcing the finest coffee beans in the world to produce the New Harlem Family Reserve brand of coffee.
  • Leaven Kitchen in Decatur provides a space for minority entrepreneurs (Decaturish) — Stan Sugarman and his business partner, Krystle Rodriguez, opened Leaven Kitchen as a collective kitchen to provide a work space for small businesses, especially minority entrepreneurs.
  • Organizations partner to assist minority-owned businesses in applying for federal funding (Philadelphia Tribune) — Five local organizations are encouraging minority-owned businesses to be prepared to apply for the next round of Paycheck Protection Program funding.
  • A special outdoor dining pavilion in Harlem supports Black-owned businesses (6sqft) – An area once home to prominent, wealthy African-American performers, artists, and professionals is now home to a new outdoor dining and recreation corridor that supports Black-owned businesses
  • BIPOC Businesses That Thrived in 2020 (Forbes) – Businesses founded by people of color have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. But many have been able to figure out a formula for success during Covid-19.

Black Business Specific

  • These three brothers have opened the first Black-owned distillery in Kentucky (Face2Face Africa)
  • How This Fair-trade Hair and Skincare Brand Is Making a Difference in West Africa and the U.S. (Travel and Leisure)  
  • Food Writer On The Future Of Black-Owned Restaurants In The Bay Area (NPR
  • Startup Spotlight: RichWine offers delivery of organic wines within the Richmond region (Richmond) — Lance Lemon and Kristen Gardner Beal founded their startup wine-selling business, RichWine, with the goal of bringing a wide selection of clean-farmed wines to a diverse audience in the Richmond region and Virginia.

Big Business / Corporate

Reparations / Affirmative Action / Diversity / Inclusion

  • Employees at center of racial controversies at tech companies speak out (Market Watch). Former employees of Pinterest, Google, and Uber speak about their experiences related to diversity in the tech industry.
  • Forbes Diversity & Inclusion Awards 2020: The 2% Solution To Racial Inequality (Forbes)
  • Philly to pay $9.8M to man exonerated who spent 28 years in prison after wrongful conviction for murder (Philadelphia Inquirer)
  • Sister Cities Project fighting racism by building relationships between Black and White neighborhoods (San Diego Union Tribune). The goal is to encourage the sharing of support, resources and cultures. 
  • Diversity Is Great But Will Organizations Be Ready For Inclusion In 2021? (Forbes) — Black business consultants can add immense value to organizational development.
  • UNLV Newsmakers 2020: Social Justice (UNLV) – A sampling of university experts who sounded off on the year’s monumental movements surrounding race, ethnicity, and gender.
  • Having Faith: Giving Back in the Spirit of Imani, the Seventh Day of Kwanzaa (Yahoo Life) — The following places focus on providing faith, health, and encouragement to the members of the Black community.


Black Economics

  • Texas Southern creates program to develop tomorrow’s bankers (Houston Chronicle) — Of the 90,000 Black-owned businesses in the city, about half are considered “unbanked” or “under-banked,” meaning they have minimal or no working relationship with a commercial lender or bank, Scroggins said.
  • Smart VCs Recognize That Black Female Founders May Lead The Next Unicorns (Forbes) – Keen observers realize Black women are sparking a wave of innovative startups with the potential of becoming unicorns.
  • Black Economic Council receives $1.5 million in donations (The Bay State Banner) — BECMA launched its Greenwood Challenge, aimed at raising $1 million to help black-owned businesses in the state not only survive a tough time, but grow.
  • Sadie Alexander: Meet the First Black Woman Economist in the U.S. (Teen Vogue)

Straight up Econ / The Economy

  • Study looks at patterns of racial segregation, poverty in North Eastern Pennsylvania (Times Leader)

Industry Stories

Alcohol / Marijuana / CBD

  • But that’s exactly what Councilor-at-large Moises Rodrigues did during a contentious three-hour city council meeting.
  • Virginia-based National Black Farmers Association supports adult-use marijuana legalization in Commonwealth (WTKR)
  • First year of legal marijuana in Illinois generated big bucks but no new minority license holders (Chicago Tribune). The Illinois marketThe Pantagraph) — The expungement process is limited to just 21 growers’ licenses,part of the state law that legalized licensed sales of marijuana starting in 2020. It’s meant to reduce the impact of the war on drugs, under which restrict supply of growers, especially minorities. 
  • Shawn Kemp is lighting up Seattle again (Washington Post). Kemp vows to diversify the marijuana industry for cannabis crimes, despite similar reported rates of usage.
  • Hayward looks to be more inclusive with cannabis business permits (East Bay Times) — The city could require half of any future cannabis businesses to be minority-owned as part of an overhaul of how the industry operates in Hayward.
  • The Push to Diversify Colorado’s Cannabis Industry (5280) — Changes to licensing in Denver, slated for early 2021, could help make the marijuana business more accessible to entrepreneurs of color.

Beauty / Fashion / Retail

  • Barnes & Noble sold few Black authors, so Cocoa couple opened Brevard’s only ‘urban’ bookstore | Rangel (Florida Today) — Essence of Knowledge, Brevard County’s only bookstore specializing in Black authors and stories, was born out of a market need, a dream and pain.
  • Asher & Bee owner will open Pensacola’s only Black-owned grocery store in January (PNJ) — In one month, Pensacola’s only Black-owned grocery store will open up its doors on North Ninth Avenue.

Technology / Apps / Innovation

  • Tech platforms vowed to address racial equity: how have they fared? (The Guardian) – Tech companies issued statements in response to Black Lives Matter this year but did they follow through ?
  • Black-owned food delivery app service expands to Detroit (Metro Times)
  • What we can do about technology widening wage gaps (The Hill)
  • Vernon Coleman founded Realtime, is an invite only app for video chatting (Business Insider) – He got $4 million in funding.

Finance / Investing / Venture Capital

  • Access Denied: The financial media (American Banker) – Podcast plus nice set of links
  • Women of color sweep business accelerator competition (KUSI)
  • 20 Minutes With: Wole Coaxum, Founder and CEO of MoCaFi (Barrons)

Real Estate / Finance / Development / Housing / Segregation

  • How Philly’s biggest 2020 real estate deal could create opportunities for Philly students (WHYY)

Politics / Government / State and Local

  • Biden Administration Likely To Increase Contracting Opportunities for Small and Minority-Owned Businesses (Government Executive)
  • Push is on for NJ Governor Murphy to deliver for minority (NJ 101.5) – Surprised to see this story since NJ 101 went “Barstool Conservative.”
  • Howard Historian To Lead New U.S. Commission (HBCU Buzz)

Education / Healthcare

  • Some HBCUs are seeing record increases in enrollments, but still grapple with funding challenges (CBS News).
  • Four Reasons Why 2020 Was The Year Of The HBCU (Forbes)
  • College student loans: another injustice for the Black community (Lansing City Pulse)

Farming / Agriculture

People and Careers

Career / Professions / Entrepreneurship / Businesses You Can Start

  • A New Scholarship for Black Students Aims to Help Longhorns in the Business World (Alcalde) — This fall, two Longhorns will enter the McCombs School of Business with a unique support system.

People / Motivation / Leadership / Success Stories / Ideas

  • Cathy Hughes Shares How Better Banking Habits Help Black Consumers And Businesses Generate Wealth (Forbes
  • Beyoncé celebrates the end of year with “Cheers to 2020” recap video (Revolt) — In the video, Beyoncé highlights the charitable actions of her BeyGOOD foundation, including providing $5,000 grants to those who are facing eviction or foreclosure due to the pandemic.
  • In Her Own Words: Judi Townsend’s pandemic partnership bridges business, race and RBG (Biz women) – A friendship built on hopes for social justice overrides age, geographical, and race gaps.
  • How this single mom went from serving overseas to opening her own gelato shop (ABC News) — This gelato shop isn’t only known for its healthy take on the popular dessert. It’s also owned by a female Black veteran.
  • African-American Chamber of Commerce names Regina A. Hairston new president (Philadelphia Business Journal) – New president of the AACC is looking forward to championing Black-owned businesses.
  • African American woman becomes the youngest female franchisor in the U.S (NJ.Com) – Custom Stretching

All Other

Travel / History

  • Oklahoma begins Tulsa race massacre centennial remembrance (8 News Now)
  • Tulsa begins race riot remembrance (Baltimore Sun)


  • Op-ed: What I learned about white privilege through 150 interviews across America (Chicago Tribune).
  • Opinion: Canceling student debt would narrow racial wealth gap and stimulate economy (The Detroit News)
  • Reclassifying ‘gig’ workers is a bad idea | Busby (App) — As COVID-19 and the massive economic downturn change the lives and livelihood of every American in this country, we know firsthand Black businesses are hit the hardest.

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