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Amaya Smith, founder of Product Junkie, prepares orders for online customers. (Photo: Cheriss May/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated economic inequities that women and minority workers and business owners already faced, reinforcing gender roles and widening racial disparities.

Driving the news: Against this backdrop, a new partnership between the National Urban League and the moderate Democratic think tank Third Way wants to level the playing field for entrepreneurs — and plans to push for federal action, Axios has learned.

  • The initiative, Alliance for Entrepreneurial Equity, aims to create an agenda of policies that will eventually be supported by Congress and President Biden.
  • Expected to be on that agenda: equalizing access to capital, networks and markets for minority and women entrepreneurs. 

Why it matters: While many grassroots efforts exist to improve entrepreneurial equity, very few are focused on effecting long-term changes at the federal level.

Context: One study from Yelp from earlier this year found that women-owned businesses, Latino-owned businesses and Black-owned businesses were more likely to close and reopen two or more times, compared to other businesses.

  • More than half (51%) of Black-owned small businesses have less than three months’ cash, compared to 44% of all small business owners, according to a recent Goldman Sachs survey

What they’re saying: Throughout the pandemic, "we've seen the power of Congress and the federal government in [bringing a] historic amount of change to small businesses," Imani Augustus, Director of AEE, tells Axios.

  • The big picture: From government funding to reconciliation, the talk on Capitol Hill this year has been about rebuilding the economy — and specifically, how to create a post-COVID economy that is “more inclusive and equitable,” adds Gabe Horwitz, senior vice president of the economic program at Third Way.

The bottom line: “We need far more small businesses, period,” Horwitz says.

Go deeper

Hope King, author of Closer
Dec 16, 2021 - Economy & Business

Reopening plans sputter

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

An upswing in COVID-19 cases and persistent fears of spread are puncturing reopening plans — just as they were taking off.

Driving the news: Producers have canceled theater performances, both on and off Broadway.

Pew data shows Philadelphia businesses inching toward recovery

Recreated from Pew; Chart: Axios Visuals

Philadelphia's economy is recovering this year, but it's happening slowly, new data shows.

Driving the news: The city saw modest economic recovery from August through October, compared to this past spring and early summer, according to jobs and credit data analyzed by Pew Charitable Trusts.

  • Businesses that were delinquent — paying bills 31 or more days late — fell slightly, while median credit balances rose. Financial stability remained stagnant, and bankruptcy filings remained low.
10 mins ago - World

Canadian Indigenous group finds 93 suspected unmarked graves

A makeshift memorial honoring the 215 children whose remains were found in a mass grave in Brantford, Ontario, Canada, last May. Photo: Cole Burston/AFP via Getty Images

Indigenous leaders in Canada's western province of British Columbia said Tuesday they believe they've found 93 unmarked graves near a former boarding school.

The big picture: Hundreds of mass graves have been found at the grounds of former residential schools for Indigenous children since last May, when the remains of 215 children were uncovered at one such site in B.C.