HOUSTON - A new survey of Black-owned businesses finds their numbers surged during the pandemic. Research by UC Santa Cruz finds the number of Black-owned businesses grew by 38% between February 2020 and August 2021 while White and Asian-owned businesses contracted in the same time period.
Still, while Black-owned businesses remain a fraction of the whole business community, an examination of Census data finds there are certain states and organizations that improve those odds.
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They know all about it at Micheaux's Southern Cuisine in Missouri City. Early in the week, the kitchen is closed to customers, but still busy preparing food for those in need.
Owners George and Janice Micheaux were expanding into the space just as COVID hit and faced the same struggles that most restaurants did.
An opportunity to join a non-profit partnership, We All East Texas, was able to employ restaurants and provide food to the community.
"People think that we were helping them; they were also helping us because we were able to keep employees employed," says Janice Micheaux.
We All Eat is the brainchild of Jerome Love, founder of Texas Black Expo, which helps foster business growth and development. The organization was noted, in a study of all 50 states, as a driving force in marking Texas the third most encouraging place for Black entrepreneurs, behind Virginia and Maryland.
"We try to do is develop, train, teach the entrepreneur to make sure they're operating off of sound financial principals," explains Love. "Because that's the language they're going to have to speak when they go to a bank, looking for capital, in order to grow their organization."
In Houston's popular Breakfast Klub restaurant in Midtown, 20 years has fostered quite a following. A line of people stretches down the block as people wait to get inside. Even with that success, owner Marcus Davis says, the struggle never ends and minority entrepreneurs can use all the help they can get.
"There's still three more steps that you have to go, as an African American, to catch up to the starting line," he says.
While the accolades are positive, each of these people says access to capital and investment remains a significant challenge for Black entrepreneurs trying to develop a business idea. Since many do not often have the financial means to pay for a project outright, there's a good chance that good ideas can be stifled without growing to their full potential.