New York Urban League Creates Support Center for Black-Owned Small Businesses

Small Business_Black Entrepreneurs_NYUL Support Center

The New York Urban League this week announced a $250,000 grant from PayPal to establish a Small Business Support Center to serve the critical needs of Black-owned small businesses in New York City’s five boroughs that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.

Research by the New York Federal Reserve found that Black-owned businesses “have closed at a rate nearly twice that of other firms amid the coronavirus pandemic, likely because they began the crisis on weaker financial footing, were less able to access federal aid, and suffered longer closures.”

The NYUL Small Business Support Center, powered by PayPal, will serve businesses that meet the U.S. Small Business Administration’s definition of “small” – those with fewer than 100 employees. Participating businesses must be 50 percent owned by a minority; have 50 percent ownership by a New York City resident; and, have 50 percent of gross receipts from conducting business in New York City.

“Small businesses are the life blood of New York City,” says Arva Rice, CEO of the New York Urban League. “Of the approximately 220,000 businesses located in the City, 98 percent are small (fewer than 100 employees), and 89 percent are very small (fewer than 20 employees). We must invest in these businesses if we are to survive the economic impact of COVID-19.”

The NYUL created the Small Business Support Center in response to the need for small businesses to have a consistent and trusted source of support. Black- and Latinx-owned businesses continue to struggle to access federal aid efforts. Indeed, in a 2019 report by New York City’s Department of Small Business Services Black entrepreneurs in the five boroughs cite access to capital and a lack of reliable resources among major challenges they face in growing their businesses.

Subsequently, in partnership with community members, organizations, advocates and leaders, the department last September launched the Black Entrepreneurs NYC (BE NYC) Initiative “to help create equity of opportunity by advancing Black entrepreneurship.”

The NYUL Small Business Support Center aims to provide counseling and coaching/mentoring; develop and expand e-commerce activities; provide financial literacy workshops/training; provide a platform for communicating and exchanging COVID-19 information, resources and strategies for small businesses to pivot and grow; and help to meet the capital needs of Black businesses by providing loans and grants.

The hope is that such real-time support and resources will help businesses get back on track and re-enter the marketplace with improved and enhanced abilities to meet customer demand.

Dan Schulman, PayPal’s president and CEO, echoed Rice’s sentiments. “Small businesses are the heartbeat of our communities, and their survival and growth are essential to building an inclusive recovery,” he said. “PayPal is proud to work with the New York Urban League to extend our support of Black-owned businesses and continue to do our part to help close the racial wealth gap.”

A leader in digital payments, PayPal previously committed $535 million to support Black-owned and underrepresented businesses and create equitable access to economic opportunity. The NYUL plans to recognize the company’s record of addressing racial equity and economic empowerment in the Greater New York area and nationwide by conferring its Frederick Douglass Medallion on Schulman at the its March 16th Centennial Gala.