MILWAUKEE — We have learned the reason for President Joe Biden’s visit Wednesday is to tout his plan to support small businesses.
The U.S. Small Business Administration showed us how hard it is for small businesses to stay open, especially during the pandemic. From March of 2021 to March of 2022, about three-percent of all small business establishments in Wisconsin closed their doors. But the number still went up by about 5,900 and contributed to a net increase of about 66,000 jobs.
Ahead of the President’s visit, we looked into how minority-owned businesses specifically are doing.
The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce reports of all the small businesses they have tracked in the city, less than 10 percent are minority-owned.
A co-owner of Criollo opened up her delicious eatery in the 3rd Street Market Hall just seven months ago saying, “I feel great because we are women and we are Latina. Latina’s can do it!”
Corry Joe Biddle with the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce hopes more people of color will feel inspired to become entrepreneurs in Brew City, “Offering opportunities to everybody truly means everybody and all boats rise when the tides go together.”
One of the ways MMAC has done that is through the Main Street Bounce Back Stimulus Program, which Corry says gave away about $36 million to more than 4,000 businesses, “If we start to spread those dollars out they will multiply over and over again.”
Corry said, “It’s not a hand out, it's the equal distribution of resources.”
MMAC also created an initiative to drive diversity and inclusion in the workplace. More than 130 companies have signed the pledge this past summer to increase the numbers of black and brown talent, by 25 percent over a five-year period.