Small business owners drive economic empowerment, both through their direct economic impact and as anchors and job-creators for the communities they serve. We know that small businesses comprise 58% of Chicago jobs as a whole and a full 70% in disinvested neighborhoods, according to a report by the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City. (1021.5KB) We also know that self-employed business owners, specifically people of color, experience faster earnings growth than wage and salary and that the overall wealth gap between white and Black households narrows significantly for entrepreneurs as compared to the general population.
However, entrepreneurs of color—despite incredible tenacity, vision and passion—face more significant hurdles. For instance, the JPMorgan Chase Institute found that small businesses in many South and West Side neighborhoods have more limited cash reserves than their counterparts on the North side. Small businesses in Englewood, for example, are operating with less than a week of cash reserves in their deposit accounts, compared to 17 days for small businesses in Buena Park—three times the cash liquidity of their Englewood peers.