In the Wake of Intersecting Crises, the Need for Intentional Investments in Communities of Color Has Been Heightened
The societal faults and systemic inequities that were more greatly exposed by the coronavirus pandemic have many people asking: How can we build back better? During a fireside chat at SPECTRUM21 Virtual, Daryl Shore of Prudential Financial and Victor Salama of Greater Newark Enterprises Corporation (GNEC) discussed how their organizations have shifted their strategies to meet the needs of the minority-led businesses disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
Members of the impact economy should be considering how they can help advance racial justice and equity at this critical moment in time. One effective way to do so is by providing minority-led small businesses with the resources, capital, and tools they need to succeed. Prudential Financial and GNEC — both of which are based in Newark, New Jersey — are working together to do just that.
“As we think about how we create a thriving city, it’s really about creating thriving neighborhoods,” Shore said. “We know how important small businesses are … we know they help address the wealth gap … and are really the engine for growth in this country and in cities like Newark.”
One way in which Shore and Salama’s organizations are taking action is by providing loans to these small businesses in an intentional manner.
“Since 2020, 100% of our loans have been made to entrepreneurs of color, 85% of whom are women,” Salama said. “This is a really key factor in our business models. We want to narrow the wealth gap and are active and engaged in doing so, and our loan portfolio reflects that.”
But providing loans is not enough because money alone does not guarantee success.
“It’s not just access to capital that’s important, but it’s that technical assistance both pre- and post-loan,” Shore said. “That really makes the difference.”
He added that helping these businesses with networking and marketing is also critical.
To highlight the impact of the work GNEC and Prudential Financial are doing, Salama shared an anecdote about one of GNEC’s clients.
“One of our clients is a women-owned construction company,” Salama said. “Our loans and technical assistance have allowed her to bring the next generation — her son — into the business and make sure he fully understands the business. That way it transitions from generation to generation. Wealth is built over generations, for the most part, and that’s something that we have to think about.”
Watch the full session above.