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Black business ownership growing at fastest pace in 30 years

Posted at 6:15 AM, Feb 19, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-19 07:15:39-05

Black business ownership is growing at its fastest pace in 30 years, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Some that have weathered the turbulent pandemic storm have come out stronger. Regal Lounge is one example.

"Our hope is to be able to have more than just the one shop that we have now," said Landry Phillips, who owns the barber and spa with his wife, Chynna A. Phillips in Columbia, South Carolina. The business caters specifically to a male demographic.

"Everything from haircuts, massages, manicures, pedicures, facials, hair removal, you name it. When it comes to personal care, we do it," he added. "It's just a change of atmosphere to kind of give guys a place to get all of their personal care needs fulfilled."

Phillips opened his shop right as the pandemic hit. Regal Lounge was open one week and the next, closed.

"A lot of time and energy went into putting the business together," Phillips said. "I've never been the person to type to give up easy in anything. I mean, life always presents you with challenges, I think."

"We were able to participate in the second round of the PPP loans. We did get an EIDL loan from the SBA, and those things have helped to sustain us up to this point. So we've just been essentially between since now and then just working really hard to grow our business," he continued. "One of the things that we've talked about is potentially purchasing the building that we're currently leasing. and the SBA has a program for that as well. So that's something that we're kind of currently looking into."

Government data shows, the SBA lent nearly $1.5 billion to Black-owned businesses in the 2023 fiscal year - more than double than the year before.

The federal agency reports $9.5 billion in federal contracts went to Black-owned businesses in 2022 – a $490 million increase from 2021.

"That's not enough. You know, we celebrate that marker, but we need to do much, much more, and that that is our hope and our mission here," said Mark Madrid, Associate Administrator for the Office of Entrepreneurial Development (OED) at the U.S. Small Business Administration.

"Black entrepreneurs are so important to the fabric of this country, not only socially but economically as well," Madrid said.

Besides funding programs to help entrepreneurs start or expand their businesses, the SBA also provides counseling, training, and business development programs.

Click here to learn about SBA's funding and training programs.

Landry Phillips' advice for new business owners is to take baby steps and realize the resources are there to give you the boost when you need it.

"Just being able to ask for help when you need it, admitting that you don't have all the answers and looking to others to provide that hand up because I know for us, that was a huge piece of it," said Phillips.

"I would say always continuing to move forward. When you feel like there's too much on your plate, you do what you can. I think so many people get caught up in having this long list of to-dos that when you get an opportunity to check just one or two things off your list, give yourself a pat on the back to say, all right, I got 10 things on my list. I got two of them done today."