Survey: Black small-business owners optimistic for 2021 recovery

PROVIDENCE – Despite the heavy blow COVID-19 has dealt to Black-owned businesses, many are optimistic for improvement in the short- and long-term future, according to a new study by Bank of America Corp.

Just under half, or 48%, of Black small-business owners surveyed said they expect their revenues will increase over the next 12 months, with 22% planning to hire, according to the bank’s inaugural Black Business Owner Spotlight.

Looking ahead to 2030, 71% of survey takers forecast greater representation for people of color in executive roles, while 67% predict a “significant” increase in the number of businesses owned by people of color.

Still, race remains a challenge, with 82% of Black business owners saying entrepreneurs of color had to work harder to achieve the same success as white counterparts. More than half, or 56%, said that challenges accessing capital have limited their growth.

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And the ongoing pandemic weighs heavily. It was the No. 1 economic concern named by 78% of survey takers. Other economic concerns included the political environment, health care costs, consumer spending, the strength of the U.S. dollar and corporate tax rates.

The pandemic will have lasting impacts, both for better and worse. Just over two-thirds of those surveyed believe consumers will be hesitant to visit reopened brick-and-mortar stores. But 80% were hopeful the pandemic will give consumers a greater appreciation for small businesses, while 68% believe small businesses will be better prepared to handle a potential reemergence of COVID-19.

The survey reflects responses from 1,000 Black small-business owners with $100,000 to $5 million in annual revenue and between two and 99 employees.

Nancy Lavin is PBN staff writer. You may reach her at

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