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On Tuesday, June 22, Axios markets reporter Courtenay Brown and business reporter Hope King took a look at economic recovery among business owners of color, featuring SBA Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman and 1863 Ventures founder Melissa Bradley

SBA Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman discussed recovering small businesses after the pandemic and implementing various programs to promote change.

  • On the priorities of the SBA: “It is the US Small Business Administration's focus to commit, support, and assist these underserved small businesses broadly so that entrepreneurship and startup culture and small businesses from Main Street to manufacturing really can survive and thrive.” 
  • On how the landscape for minority small business owners has changed: “The Biden-Harris administration is committed to equity and really implementing transformational changes…We need to transform the way that we design and implement those programs so that more businesses can access them because there are historical barriers that are unacceptable if we are going to recover and rebuild.” 

1863 Ventures founder Melissa Bradley discussed systemic barriers to success in the small business world and how to create new growth opportunities. 

  • On supporting entrepreneurs of color: I think this idea of recognizing how to properly market to entrepreneurs of color is extremely important because they're looking for trusted intermediaries and trusted parties. And unfortunately, sometimes it's not the government or local bank.”
  • On what the future of entrepreneurial success looks like: “We need to shift where we find success and look at consumer product goods. We need to look at retail. We need to look at supplier diversity change. We need to look at B2B businesses and really say that this is what success looks like in the entrepreneurial community for black and brown founders. I think if we do that, then hopefully we change the signal effect to investors of what success is and more importantly, what success [looks] like.”

Axios SVP of events and creative strategy Kristin Burkhalter hosted a View from the Top Segment with YouTube’s vice president of content partnerships Malik Ducard who discussed YouTube’s part in the creator economy and how new initiatives are promoting change.

  • Ducard on how YouTube is prioritizing creators and artists of color on the platform: “We leaned in and created the YouTube Black Voices Fund, which is focused on supporting creators and artists on the platform with funding, workshops, and convening and really helping to grow not only their numbers but their success on the platform. [Also] creating original shows and content to highlight education around racial justice and the black experiences.”

Thank you YouTube for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Small Business Administrator: We're fixing "historic barriers" to loan access

Photo: Axios

The Small Business Administration is transforming loan programs so small businesses owned by women and people of color can better access them, Small Business Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman said at an Axios event Tuesday.

Why it matters: Guzman said there are "historic barriers that are unacceptable if we are going to recover and rebuild." The pandemic hit minority-owned businesses particularly hard.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Jun 23, 2021 - Economy & Business

The small business boom

Expand chart
Data: Census Bureau via John C. Haltiwanger of the University of Maryland; Chart: Axios Visuals

One of the most unexpected pandemic winners might just turn out to be new small businesses.

Why it matters: The number of entrepreneurs starting a business easily hit a record high in 2020, according to a new analysis by University of Maryland economist John Haltiwanger. That's a surprising result, given the severity of the crisis.

Updated Jun 18, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on Juneteenth and Black political power

On Friday, June 18, Axios justice and race reporter Russ Contreras and Axios Today host Niala Boodhoo unpacked the historical significance of Juneteenth and discussed Black political power in the U.S., featuring Harvard University professor Annette Gordon-Reed, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), and 7 Generations Movement Collective owner and director Demetria Rougeaux Shabazz, Ph.D. The virtual event took place the morning after President Biden signed legislation establishing Juneteenth as a federal holiday.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee unpacked the passage of legislation making Juneteeth a federal holiday and legislative action around addressing systemic racism in America.

  • On Juneteenth being signed in as a federal holiday: "It was an unthinkable moment...To be able to see both a bipartisan unanimous consent in the Senate and an actual vote in the House of Representatives...[a] day that we never thought would come."
  • On what comes next: "We have work to do and that we should undermine what we just did, not that we should diminish it. Now you can vote...to give us voting rights to protect against voter suppression laws. You can give us a commission that will study slavery and develop a repair pathway that deals with what happened and what is happening to those who are the descendants of enslaved Africans, the disparities that you find today in the black community."

Professor Annette Gordon-Reed discussed the historical significance of Juneteenth, the role of historians in making sense of the current moment, and the importance of revisiting history,

  • “[Historians] look at the same material and ask different questions about it…[We] try to reconstitute it so that we can understand the past and maybe understand ourselves a little bit better. So we're always revising.”

7 Generations Movement Collective owner and director Demetria Rougeaux Shabazz discussed the importance of learning about the history of slavery in schools and honestly teaching American history to students.

  • “It's about really reconciling with our hands and commemorating that past and then celebrating the possibilities of not only being an African-American but what we can be as a nation.”

Axios Vice President of Communications Yolanda Brignoni hosted a View from the Top segment with Racial Equality and Economic Opportunity Executive at Bank of America, Ebony A. Thomas, who discussed how the banking sector can work directly with communities of color.

  • "The way that you overcome hurdles and you break barriers is to give these communities access to capital, but also give them access to information. You break down walls of networks, you wrap services around them. So not only is it about the creation of the business, but it's also about the longevity and survival of the business."

Thank you Bank of America for sponsoring this event.