Diversity & Inclusion
COVID-19 / DEI / Federal government / Funding / Jobs

As you read about PPP money going to the Trump family, remember: Black businesses received almost nothing

Misappropriation of emergency COVID-19 grants is not a victimless crime.

The NERDiT Foundation has been serving the community since 2017. (Courtesy photo)
This is an opinion piece by Technical.ly Delaware reporter Holly Quinn.

Newly released Small Business Association data analysis confirms what has been suspected for months: that the emergency Payroll Protection Program (PPP), supposedly intended to keep small businesses afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic, was grossly mismanaged. Much of the money was funneled to large companies, including Trump family-owned organizations — to the tune of $3.65 million over 25 PPP loans.

NBC reports that over $2 million went to Donald Trump’s Triomphe Restaurant Corp., which reported that the money was not used to keep jobs.

That money was taken from small business owners. Specifically, Black and brown business owners, who, for various reasons — many clearly tied to systemic issues like a lack of working relationships with banks — received disproportionately little of those funds.

We’ve interviewed many of Delaware’s Black- and brown-owned businesses during the pandemic, including 12 as part of our Seeking Equity in Wilmington reporting series with the Wilmington Alliance. During the course of those interviews, only one Black-owned organization — the nonprofit NERDiT Foundation — received a penny in PPP funds. The amount was a shocking $5,000 (that’s five thousand, five zero zero zero), while other white-owned businesses received 10 to (no exaggeration) 40-plus times that. Another Black-owned business, Green Box Kitchen, was still waiting to hear what amount they’d receive, months after the application.

All of the businesses in the series needed emergency funds as much as anyone else. It wasn’t until state emergency funds were implemented that many minority-owned businesses received anything.  And that’s Delaware; business owners in other states may not even have that.

Since the Seeking Equity in Wilmington series, when I interview Black business owners, I ask if they received federal PPP funding. Not one of them have said yes. There’s always something — some detail that disqualified them.

Meanwhile, more than 300 companies took in over the maximum of $10 million in PPP funds.

Choices were made. Now that we’re heading into a new presidential era, we have to do better. Not just by not tolerating blatant criminal activity, but by working to change those systemic issues that made it so damn easy to deny Black and brown business owners emergency financial aid during a crisis.

We encourage you to revisit the Seeking Equity in Wilmington series (or check it out for the first time).

Companies: U.S. Small Business Administration

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