Page 6 - The August 2021 Edition of The Fayetteville Press Newspaper
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Page 6                                                                                         The Fayetteville Press August/September 2021 Edition



                               Commentary












                                                                    Member of The NC Black Publisher Assocation & NNPA




             Black-owned Small Business Response to the Pandemic




                 By Janita R. Stewart U.S. Small Business Administration’s Southeast Acting Regional Administrator, serving

                      Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee


               Black-owned small businesses represent 9.5% of all small                                                       the Southeast. Also, 18 Small Business Development Centers
           businesses in the United States (around 2.6 million). Georgia and                                                  are hosted by HBCU’s; 8 of them located in the Southeast.
           Florida are among the top 4 states with the most Black-owned                                                       Overall, black small business owners are younger and include
           small businesses, and these are major markets in the Southeast                                                     more women than the general small business population. Ac-
           Region. Much of the American Rescue Plan Act has been deliv-                                                       cording to The State of African American Owned Businesses
           ered through programs administered by the U.S. Small Business                                                      by SCORE.org, 22% of African American small business own-
           Administration (SBA).                                                                                              ers are millennials, nearly twice as many as the 12% of millennial
                                                                                                                              small business owners in the general population. With this data
               According to the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Re-                                                    in mind, SBA is clearly investing in America’s youth.
           search, the pandemic contributed to tipping 41% of Black-owned
           US businesses into closure from February to April 2020. Of the                                                          Black-owned businesses have also responded to the pan-
           businesses that survived the pandemic, 8.8% Black-owned busi-                                                      demic through use of SBA’s traditional 7(a) and 504 Loans.
           nesses reported profitability and growth according to a SCORE.org                                                  So far across the Southeast Region in FY 2021 (ending Sep-
           study. This data leads to the question: which response strategies                                                  tember 30), there is already an increase of 53 loans over the
           did Black-owned businesses use to survive the pandemic? The                                                        full fiscal year of FY 2020 valued at an increase of $58 million
           answer is clear through data collected through a SCORE.org sur-                                                    and this number can only continue to increase as the fiscal year
           vey. According to the study, 53.4% of Black-owned businesses                                                       end nears. On the federal government contracting side, Black-
           applied for federal recovery funding, and 20.3% received the full                                                  owned small businesses should be determined, posture, and
           amount that was applied for.                                                                                       anchor themselves to be full participants in the world’s largest
                                                                                           By Janita R. Stewart               marketplace. If eligible and not yet certified, apply for certifi-
                                                                                   U.S. Small Business Administration’s       cations including 8(a), HUBZone, WOSB and EDWOSB, etc.
               The top industries represented by Black-owned business in
           the U.S. include Accommodation and Food Services, Construc-   opportunities made available to small businesses, espe-  Federal contract awards from this source can add an addi-
           tion, Health Care and Social Assistance, Professional, Scientific,                                                 tional stream of income enhancing your business development
           Technical Services, and Other Services (except Public Adminis-  cially in underserved areas. Other than the recovery pro-  and growth.
           tration), and Manufacturing. These industries align with the top  grams administered through SBA (PPP, EIDL, SVOG,
                                                                         RRF, CNPP, etc.), the SBA has positioned itself in com-
           funded industries through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)                                                         In honor of Black Business Month, it is important to me
           reflecting that Black-owned businesses gained some traction in  munities to be a key resource to the black business com-  to capture the overall health of the black business community
                                                                         munity.
           utilizing the PPP.                                                                                                 and to understand the response strategy of Black-owned small
                                                                              One effort that the SBA has made in terms of ser-  businesses. This is a time that is critical for communities to work
                                                                         vicing the Black-owned business community is through
               Healthy Black-owned businesses could be a critical compo-                                                      together, blend resources, and support one another for contin-
           nent for closing the United States’ black–white equity gap. The  the Women’s Business Centers. Five of the 136 centers  ued business survival and growth.
           SBA has strived and continues to strive to lessen this gap through  across the United States are collocated with Historically
                                                                         Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) located in       Please stay safe and be well.



                          THE TEACHER                                                                                         stance but when she spoke, you heard sensible substance. It is still
                                                                                                                              unbelievable to us that she is gone; she served fiercely during her
                  As we approach the season of formally and traditionally edu-                                                season. She wanted no pomp and circumstance, just a private fu-
           cating our young, much is to be considered. As a grandparent, it is not                                            neral and entombment. She accrued a wealthy retirement life and
           my call to decide if my grands physically return to school. A part of me                                           never in her appearance would you think of her to be as blessed in
           want to protect them from all harm of the ‘delta variant’ and a part of                                            material things as much as she was... Lessons she always conveyed
           me questions my faith. As time moves forward, I guess you could                                                    were her love for God, the importance of travel and the fact that you
           recognize that we are in what is Biblically known as a ‘season’. Again,                                            cannot take any of this world with you. We loved her, miss her, and
           our faith is being tested in multiple venues of this unpredictable life. We                                        pitifully make use remembering times with her. Lesson learned:
           seem to remain in a season of trials and tribulations; man continues to                                            “…what will be has been before” (Ecc.3:15). I know she’s been
           teach and be taught daily. Man continues to process the sense of it all                                            given another important role in her new birth; I know she is doing
           while carefully trying not to question the behavior of the Almighty;                                               well and have received approval from ‘The Teacher’.
           trusting that the right people, positive and protective spirits will be sent
           our way. I strongly believe that our teachings should also be self-im-                                                  As we enter another season, we must remember that there is a
           posed. We should ‘dish it out’ and ‘take it’; in other words, ‘give and  By Dr. Mary J. Ferguson, Adjunt Professor  time and place for everything. Listen carefully to the Teachers in
           receive’.                                                                                                          your lives.
                                                                                                                                                       Listen and Learn
                  During this season, the wealthy may be realizing more than  needs” (1 Samuel 2:21).                                           Hear ye! Hear ye, one and all!
           ever before that no amount of money can make them happy. On the      Lesson learned: We have been taught that the Earth          It is time to listen, let’s clear the halls!
           other hand, some of them have chosen to invest in science, education,  and Heavens belong to no man. A very wealthy man was    The Teacher has a lesson each day for you,
           research, the poor, and build a better understanding of the universe  once a boy and intrigued about reaching as far into the uni-  Here is what each of you need and should do…
           which teaches the common man that hopes of venturing outside the  verse as possible (50 miles above Earth). He was five years     The coming year has a time as well,
           box is truly possible. Lesson learned…the Teacher teaches that even  old and made a vow that he would build a rocket and do just      If we take care of our Earth,
           the wealthy are limited in their endeavors. The Teacher is in a difficult  that…he did design a rocket and he is wealthy beyond mea-  Chances are, we will live to tell…
           position, one that sheds light as well as darkness. The light begins dur-  sure. He flew beyond Earth’s realm. He soon learned how  We will recall the times and their places in this world.
           ing the initial phase of learning; the darkness appears when all involved  much bigger the universe is than Earth. He returned and im-  We will strengthen a new generation of boys and girls!
           are tested. The Teacher is welcoming and delivers hope for all schol-  mediately gave a total of 200 million dollars to two men that  The Teacher says that we will have times we cry,
           ars if they adopt listening skills.  Hopes of continued wisdom, knowing  he felt would use the money to benefit others. He later said,  Times we surely will question why?
           when to play, work, and submit. The Teacher expects and practices  “I don’t care what or how you use it, I trust that you will do  A time to be closer; we will know when to step back.
           diligence, value, and the consequences of the abuse of power. Teach-  the right thing” (New York Times, 2021). He was changed      A time to be quiet; a time to relax.
           ers find themselves becoming philosophers, discovering pedagogical  from his flight outside his Earthly box. I think he will be for-  “But Teacher, we love and we hate just the same!”
           cultures, and signifying a time and place for everything. Then the pres-  ever changed and I can only imagine the lessons learned. Is  “That is why it is time to put hatred to shame!”
           sure mounts and teachers are placed in the difficult position of being  he satisfied? I imagine not… He is probably researching what  “Well Teacher, what about war and rumors of wars?”
           expected to perform miracles. But…, God teaches that “…the sun  he can do to top what he just did. No matter, he can continue  “You pray for peace and reach for the stars!”
           rises, the sun sets, the sea is never filled, and that generations come  to reach for the stars. He will now only want to go higher.  “Teacher, why work so hard on this Earthly soil?”
           and generations go but the earth remains forever” (1 Ecc. 4,5,7).  He risked losing his life, wealth, and maybe his mind to ven-  “Believe me, your diligence will be worth the pain and
                                                                         ture out and find answers to questions he wondered about as                      toil!
               The learning process is infinite. You can become older, wiser, and  early as a highly intelligent five-year-old boy. I imagined he  And as you enter anew, you will notice the oppressed.
           smarter throughout life. All continue to learn through the cultural teach-  recognized his true soul. In Ecclesiastes, the Teacher looks  You should wipe their tears caused by the previous year.
           ings of television, but sometimes we interpret fiction as non-fiction.  at man’s desire to be as wise, happy, diligent, powerful, and  That will surely be the time to lend an ear.
           Recently, a TV series was discontinued. The finale ended with all main  rich as he possibly can…but, without God we are nothing,  The lonely will come out and realize two are better than
           characters perishing (except one). Her name was Hannah. She lived  “Everything is meaningless” (Ecc.1:2). So, He places upon                      one.
           to reap all of the wealth that was dividing the Haves. She was never  us allotted time to achieve our worth.                      That is the only way to get things done.
           moved by the evil that wreaked among the Haves. Hannah always                                                             In other words, we have learned that each sister and
           prophesized while trying to teach lessons of redemption to her offend-  Recently, I lost a strong branch from my family’s tree.      brother will need one another.
           ers (including her children). In the end, she was blessed with a grandbaby  I lost my sister-in-law. She was a beautiful and gifted human  Just listen to the teachings of your fathers and mothers.”
           boy whom I imagine will help her move forward in life and materially  being. She met my brother at Shaw University in the prime  So, what is the lesson to be learned from all these Words
           want for nothing. Hannah was the cannon throughout the drama, try-  of the 1970’s. Both were strong and smart people (a good                  conveyed?
           ing to teach that throughout all of her mistakes, the Lord prepared her  match). She retired from IBM and an investment company  Advancement and riches are meaningless because,
           mind to understand wealth, gave her hope of a god-fearing man in her  as an executive, he too retired from IBM as well. She was a  Cleanliness will always be next to Godliness.
           life, but took all the hurt people, who hurt people and removed them for  gifted business woman, pianist, mathematician, and awesome   -Mary J. Ferguson (2021)
           a clear path to living a fruitful life. “The Lord paid attention to Hannah’s  wife and mother. She battled cancer in the mid 1990’s and  Based on the Biblical Book of Ecclesiastes
                                                                         cancer returned in 2020. Her presence was always a quiet  ________________________________________________________________________
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