Fewer minority business owners receiving pandemic funds


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) —A nonprofit says businesses owners of color are less likely to receive income assistance during COVID-19.

Sekvan Mohammad, owner of The Junction Pub and Grill, is trying to figure out how to keep the doors open. He owns two restaurants. For one he was able to get a PPP, but not for The Junction because it’s too new.

“This location has been very difficult,” Mohammad said.

He’s thankful he was able to get one at all because some folks weren’t so lucky.

“I can’t imagine how difficult it would without the PPP I got,” Mohammad said. “It’s not much, but it’s enough to get by.”

According to the Equity Alliance report, 60% of business owners of color said they didn’t get any financial help during the pandemic. Compare that to 38% of white business owners.

The report also says it’s because payments are based on a business’s gross sales, and that puts minority small businesses at a disadvantage.

Rev. Venita Lewis said she owns a small business, and wasn’t able to get a PPP.

She said she has a friend who works for the Small Business Administration, advising her on best practices. Lewis said people need to make sure they have their paperwork correct, and have an online presence. She also said having a good relationship with your bank is beneficial.

31% of White Nashvillians said stimulus funds should go to businesses. But only 10% of Black Nashvillians said the same. 13% of Latino residents agreed.

Business owners of color said they’d prefer to see relief funding go to support for food and utilities as opposed to white business owners.

The metro council did stipulate that 30% of the funds from the COVID-19 Financial Oversight Committee must be granted to minority-owned businesses.

This report from the United Way breaks down by zip code what areas are getting the most help.

The top ones listed are also the top zip codes that are most at risk for COVID-19.

Full report HERE