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In-depth: Why minorities say it's harder to start and grow a business

Black business owners are three times more likely than White business owners to be rejected for a loan
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Posted at 7:23 PM, Feb 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-19 19:23:11-05

TAMPA, Fla. — Historically, starting and growing a business has been difficult for minorities. People of color have long complained of not having enough support to give them a shot at success.

ABC Action News in-depth reporter Anthony Hill spoke with some local minority business owners about their experiences and he uncovered why it’s more challenging for people of color to start businesses.

Joy Haskins is the owner of Thyme and Bloom market in Tampa. “I started the market to promote wellness, sustainability,” said Haskins. She says she wanted a business where people in her community could go for holistic health solutions.

However, starting a business was anything but easy. She applied for 30 grants to help start and grow her business and hasn’t qualified for any of them. She also didn’t qualify for business loans from banks because she didn’t have a credit history. It turns out not having credit can be just as bad as having poor credit.

Many minorities trying to start and grow a business have had the same experience as Joy. Historically, starting a business for people of color has been more difficult. The reason: minorities lack access to capital in order to start and grow their businesses. In order to get capital, they apply for loans from banks, but with poor to little credit history, their application is usually denied. Private investors want to see that an applicant can offer collateral, which is hard to do if you can’t get a loan in the first place.

In fact, a study conducted by the investment company, Goldman Sachs, found Black business owners were three times more likely than White business owners to be rejected for a loan.

“It’s been an eye-opening experience, you know, going through so much as a new business owner,” said Pamela Thompson, owner of My Shade & Texture, a one-stop beauty shop in Tampa. She says even having good credit hasn’t protected her from the difficulties of growing her new business.

“I made sure I had everything in order on my end and have my finances together to have my credit where it should’ve been. Again, excellent credit,” said Thompson. She says she applied with the Small Business Administration. “I was matched with over 20 lenders, however, I was told that because I did not have two years of service or business experience, I did not qualify.” So, she had to fund her business mostly on her own.

One business coach told ABC Action News because of how difficult it can be to start and grow a business, especially as a minority, it’s essential for small business owners to reach out for professional help. “I do believe that it is very imperative that you have a business coach to work with,” said Natasha Goodley, owner of White & Black Consulting in Tampa.

She says there are several organizations in the Bay Area that offer free services to help minorities start and grow their businesses. “We work with you to help curtail that idea into an actual business model, we assist with editing and helping to revise your business plan and help you get registered with Sunbiz,” said Goodley.

Here are some local organizations that specialize in helping minorities start and grow their businesses. Many of their services are free.