RACE, RELIGION + SOCIAL JUSTICE

Lack of access stands between Black-owned businesses and success

Feb 1, 2023, 6:00 PM

Founder of the Utah Black Chamber, James Jackson III, spoke to KSL NewsRadio about how lack of access means more than lack of access to money for many Black businesses. (Utah Black Chamber)

(Utah Black Chamber)

SALT LAKE CITY — The main reason that Black-owned small businesses fail in America, and all small businesses for that matter, is the lack of access to money. 

But Black business owners encounter more obstacles than lack of access to money, said Utah Black Chamber founder James Jackson III. He spoke with KSL NewsRadio’s Dave and Dujanovic on Tuesday about those obstacles, how to overcome them, and what the Chamber plans for the upcoming NBA All-Star Game.

Access to money and information for Black-owned businesses

Black-owned businesses are on the rise in the U.S. Bankrate reports a 5% increase in Black-owned businesses in 2020.

The publication also reports that 20% percent of Black Americans start businesses each year. And that 4% of those businesses survive the startup stage.

“The number one struggle for Black businesses is access to capital,” Jackson said. And it’s more than just knowing who to talk to, or where to go for help. Black business owners actually had to wait for banking regulations to catch up to them. 

“The banks weren’t really set up to welcome the Black community … so a whole bunch of laws and regulations had to go into place to ensure that the banking is accessible to us,” Jackson told KSL NewsRadio.

Another issue, Jackson said, is the lack of access to information. That’s something that the Utah Black Chamber is working on with local banks.

“For example, Zions Bank has a small business diversity banking program,” he said. This program makes information as well as capital more accessible to Black businesses.

What access to exposure looks like

The NBA All-Star Game is coming to Salt Lake City on Friday, February 17, 2023. And it will provide a large opportunity for the Utah Black Chamber, as well as Black business owners in Utah.

“We were one of their (NBA) first contacts,” Jackson said. “We’re participating in a pitch competition for Black businesses, and will award grant dollars.” The NBA Players Association is participating in this event as well.

“What we’re hoping for is establishing some relationships and some education using the NBA platform, to get the visibility and resources to these black businesses.”

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Lack of access stands between Black-owned businesses and success