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Black-owned businesses make up a substantial segment of the small business sector. They are also, unfortunately, disproportionately affected during economic downturns like the one brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The disruptions of 2020 have confronted entrepreneurs with a new array of challenges, and the trials faced by Black-owned companies have only been magnified by the current environment, including lack of access to capital, changes in supply chains and shifting consumer behavior.

Black-owned businesses often face lower revenues, profit margins and cash liquidity, are underrepresented among companies with external financing, and are most likely to exit in the first three years, according to a JPMorgan Chase Institute study. Additionally, more than 400,000 Black-owned businesses shuttered between February and April this year, making up 41% of the total 1.1 million.

The data is sobering, but by embracing uncertainty, remaining agile and future-proofing business models, Black entrepreneurs can help change the narrative and position their businesses to not only survive, but thrive for years to come.