Selected Reports and Surveys Related to Women- and Minority-Owned Businesses

This page provides links to key reports related to small business and the COVID-19 pandemic.  It is not an exhaustive list, rather it is intended to support further examination and discovery on this important topic.

  • Analysis of Place-Based Incentives:  Brookings Institute issued a report, How States Can Direct Economic Development to Places and People in Need, which “finds that the criteria that governments use to geographically target tax incentives and other place-based programs are often ill-conceived or out-of-date, with the result that initiatives end up serving wealthy locations instead of disadvantaged ones. And even when programs do reach the intended communities, they often are not well-suited to help residents.”  Report recommendations include:

    • Targeting programs using quantitative measures

    • Systematically assessing geographic targeting

    • Regularly updating the set of eligible locations

    • Tailoring economic development strategies to local needs

    • Creating job opportunities for low-income residents

  • Asian American Becoming Largest Minority Group:  The Pew Research Center released a report, Asian Americans are the fastest-growing racial or ethnic group in the U.S., in April 2021.  According to the report, the Asian American population increased in every state over the past two decades with California being home to 5.9 million Asian Americans in 2019, which is the largest Asian American population in US.  New York ranks second with 1.7 million Asian Americans and Texas is third with 1.5 million.  

  • California Small Businesses Face Difficult Decisions:  Small Business Majority released the results of a California survey in December 2020, California Small Businesses Face Difficult Decisions As Pandemic Continues And Funding Freezes.” The survey of 418 California small business owners (nearly evenly split between white entrepreneurs and business owners of color) taken between November 10 and 23, 2020. found:

    • 17% of entrepreneurs of color report they are likely to permanently close their business in the next three months, compared to 12% of white business owners.

    • Nearly half say operating capacity has decreased, with 16% reporting their capacity has decreased by more than 50%.

    • Despite efforts to reopen local economies and “get back to normal,” small business owners have had to reduce the number of employees during the height of the pandemic, with more than 60% reporting that they have not restored their headcount to pre-pandemic levels.

    • While about half of small businesses say they applied for PPP loans, of those who didn’t apply, they largely attributed their reasons to confusion about how to apply, fear over taking on debt, inability to secure a loan through their bank, or thinking they were ineligible.

    • 28% of entrepreneurs of color report they may be forced to temporarily close their business in the next three months.  Of those, 27% say they may lay off employees permanently, compared to 15% of white entrepreneurs.

    • More than 80% of small business owners support providing direct grant assistance to small businesses, and 76% support another round of PPP loan dispersal.

  • Cannabis Equity Grants Program:  The California Cannabis Equity Act of 2018 (Equity Act), established by Senate Bill 1294 (Chapter 794, Statutes of 2018), requires an annual report to the Legislature on the progress of local equity programs that have received funding.   The Bureau of Cannabis Control entered into an interagency agreement with GO-Biz for fiscal years 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 to administer the Cannabis Equity Grants Program for Local Jurisdictions on its behalf.  The report summarizes the $55 million of equity grant funding awarded by the Bureau and GO-Biz for fiscal years 2018-19, 2019-2020, and 2020-2021.

    • To date, the state has awarded $55 million to local jurisdictions in grant funding to support local equity programs.

    • In October 2019, $10 million in equity grant funding was awarded to 10 local jurisdictions, and in April 2020, GO-Biz awarded $30 million in equity grant funding to 16 local jurisdictions.

    • Of the 16 local jurisdictions awarded funding by GO-Biz, nine local jurisdictions received grant funding for assistance to conduct a cannabis equity assessment and develop an equity program.  Seven local jurisdictions received grant funding to provide assistance for cannabis equity program applicants and licensees to gain entry to, and to successfully operate in the regulated cannabis industry.  

  • Inclusive Recovery of Commercial Spaces:  LISC Bay Area interviewed four community development corporations (CDCs) about the pandemic’s impact on local communities and how CDCs pivoted to meet these challenges.  A summary of the interviews was published in “Defending CDC Place-Keepers in the Bay Area: Preserving Cultural and Economic Space through COVID-19,” May 27, 2021.  Among several topics, the CDCs discussed their role as cultural anchors in their communities, providing local services, community amenities, and below market rate commercial space for neighborhood-serving businesses and cultural spaces.  In addition to the short- and long-term challenges, the CDCs shared recommendations on how to support low income communities experience a better recovery.  CDCs interviewed included the East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC), The Unity Council (TUC), Chinatown Community Development Center (CCDC), and Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC).  Below are a few excerpts from the report.

    • Collectively, the CDCs interviewed have seen up to a 40% sustained decline in rent collections and are projecting $3 million in total rent losses through the end of 2021.  EBALDC

    • Local CDCs are vital to safeguarding and creating the spaces integral to healthy, vibrant, and equitable neighborhoods and cultural business districts such as the Fruitvale Transit Village, Swan’s Market, and San Francisco and Oakland Chinatowns.  These cultural neighborhoods are supported by CDCs who provide affordable commercial and cultural spaces that are essential to supporting low income families and entrepreneurs, especially in neighborhoods with rising rents and property values.  EBALDC

    • The vast majority of our BIPOC commercial tenants have endured great strains.  Many have used multiple resources available to them: savings, loans from friends and family, and PPP loans.  There is still great concern as to what recovery will look like, especially in our communities, which already have a history of adversity and neglect.  CCDC

    • State and local governments can make immediate impacts on the financial health of non-profit, mission-aligned commercial landlords still weathering the effects of COVID-19.  State resources must be secured and allocated to offset the revenue loss that we sustained from deferring rent for our small, largely BIPOC, commercial tenants.  Current efforts like AB 1146 [Cervantes] California Small Business Rent Relief Act, would provide a three-year tax credit to small business landlords that could help mitigate some of our losses, but enhancements are needed.  TNDC

    • During the pandemic, we’ve seen an increase in collective impact work, CDCs and partners coming together to solve big issues in support of our communities.  It is imperative that we begin to develop long-term strategies to ensure the health and maintenance of our community real estate assets. Strategies that are developed in partnership with the lending institutions, local, state and federal government.  TUC 

    • There is an urgent, unmet need that exists among non-profit CDCs that own and operate cultural and economic space in Bay Area communities.  The impact to mission driven, community serving small business landlords remains an under the radar issue, and therefore policy and related COVID-directed resources have not been targeted toward relief in this sector.  Immediate financial support for CDCs is needed to offset the economic impact of COVID-19 that threatens both our short- and long-term organizational operations and, relatedly, the largely low income, BIPOC communities we serve who have suffered severe and catastrophic impacts as a result of the pandemic. EBALDC

  • COVID-19’s Outsized Toll on Minority-Owned Firms:  The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland released a report, An Uphill Battle: COVID-19’s Outsized Toll on Minority-Owned Firms.  Among other findings, the report stated:

    • For firms that are still operating, cash balances are a growing concern, with minority-owned firms experiencing a more severe cash crunch than nonminority-owned firms.

    • Minority-owned firms had less financial reserves and lower average revenues prior to the severe economic downturn.

    • Business sectors with high percentages of minority-owned firms were the same industry sectors most impacted during the COVID-19 recession.

    • Data suggests that minority-owned firms had difficulty in accessing the federal Paycheck Protection Program, which may have been related to the lack of banking relationships prior to the pandemic.

    • The potential loss of minority-owned firms goes beyond the business and its workers and could have negative consequences to the broader US economy.

  • Economic Impact of COVID-19 on California Businesses:  The UC Sacramento Center hosted a webinar by Dr. Robert Fairlie, Economic Professor from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a member of the National Bureau of Economic Research.  Dr. Fairlie has also testified before the US Congress, the Assembly Committee on Jobs, and the Assembly Select Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.  During the webinar, Dr. Fairlie discussed how COVID-19 impacted small business owners in California using data from April 2020 through January 2020.  A video of the webinar and slide deck are available.  Among other findings, he reported:

    • Business owner activity fell by more than 20% in April 2020, then rebounded consistently every month until October 2020.

    • From October 2020 to January 2021, business activity has declined.  

    • As compared to business activity in February 2020, business activity in February 2021 was down 10% in California as compared to 6% nationally.

    • Priorities for moving forward include:

      • Consumers need to feel safe again.  The number one priority for helping small businesses is to get the vaccine out faster.  People are anxious to get back to restaurants and shops.

      • We need to slow down the extensive shift to online shopping which was happening prior to the pandemic.

      • Small businesses need to have more of an online presence.  Aid in the form of web page assistance could be useful. 

      • Search engines could prioritize local small businesses instead of online retailers and big box stores.

  • Economic Impact of COVID-19 on California Latinos:  The California Latino Economic Institute released a new policy brief that provides new data on the disparate and growing negative impact of COVID-19 on Latinos in California.  The briefing was conducted in partnership with Mindy Romero of the Center for Inclusive Democracy (CID) at the USC Price School of Public Policy.  The announcement identified the following findings from the briefing:

    • Latinos are overrepresented among California’s COVID-19 cases and deaths—59% of cases and 49% of the state’s deaths.

    • Latino overrepresentation in California’s cases has increased since April 2020.

    • Nearly 12% of California Latinos are currently uninsured—double the rate of other groups.

    • Latino unemployment rates are double those from the same time last year.

    • Nearly two-thirds of California Latinos report experiencing a loss of employment income since March 2020.

    • Over 40% of Latinos currently report that it is somewhat or very difficult to pay their usual household expenses in the last 7 days.

    • Over three-quarters of California small business owners report that COVID-19 has had a moderate to large effect on their businesses.

  • Economic Status of Small Business:  The US Office of Small Business Advocacy released an Economic Bulletin on the status of small businesses during the pandemic.  A few highlights include:

    • While there was little change in the total number of self-employed persons, their income declined 13% annualized in the second quarter of 2020.  According to the report, this is the largest quarterly decline since quarterly data began to be tracked in 1947.  Incomes, at the aggregate-level, are reported to have recovered in the third quarter.

    • Net new job growth was strongest among small firms (<500 employees) from 2010 to 2019, accounting for 63% of the private net job creation.  These small firms employee about 50% of all workers.  In 2020, small businesses continued to play an important role within communities having a net job loss of 4.8 million vs 5.3 million for large firms.

    • While business openings have been relatively stable for 15 years, the number of new business applications have spiked in 2020.  The specific source of this increase (new or reformation of existing business) is unclear, and the next few months will provide greater clarity. 

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  • Economic Mobility for All Californians:  The California EDGE Coalition has released its policy agenda for 2021.  In summary, their policy agenda includes the following:

  1. Support funding for education and workforce training programs to create pathways to quality jobs by integrating competency-based education and credit for prior learning, and better align and expand career tech and adult education programs that respond to high demand sectors of the economy.

  2. Protect, grow, and expand existing and innovative “learn and earn” opportunities by elevating blended learning, including online and hands-on training in high-demand fields, and expanding work-based training opportunities that support workers in underserved communities.

  3. Expand and secure a social safety net for underserved communities to remove barriers to quality jobs by assisting low/no-income students, adult learners, communities of color, and dislocated workers in accessing support services that address basic needs such as food, housing, transportation, childcare, and healthcare.

  4. Secure quality broadband access for all by supporting the expansion of reliable high-speed internet access, especially in underserved communities, in addition to ensuring equitable learning and training can continue while physical distancing orders are in place and close the digital divide.

  5. Support workers and employers in COVID-19 response and recovery by strengthening partnerships between business, education, workforce, and community-based organizations; supporting economic stimulus funding and employer incentives to assist businesses in rebuilding capacity and retaining/rehiring their workforce; and reimagining opportunities within the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

  6. Support the development and implementation of California’s longitudinal data system by ensuring the integration of statewide data across education, workforce, and human services systems is public-facing, transparent, secure, and includes the adult learner and worker voice.  Having access to quality public data will help individuals, researchers, policymakers, and advocates inform decision making through outcome transparency and can improve program/institutional effectiveness.

  • Policylink Issues Manual for Accelerating Biden's Executive order on Racial Equity:  Policylink releases a resource manual for equity advocates working with federal agencies, For Love of Country:  A Path for the Federal Government to Advance Racial Equity.  The manual is intended to assist federal agencies accelerate their implementation of the January 2020 executive order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, which sets federal policy of supporting everyone in America to reach their full potential and calls on federal agencies to assess whether, and to what extent, its programs and policies perpetuate systemic barriers to opportunities and benefits for people of color and other underserved groups.  Among other information, the manual includes:  

    • A tool for conducting and refining an initial equity assessment of federal policies and programs

    • Examples of how transformative addressing system barriers can be for the US, as tracked through key socioeconomic outcomes

    • Guiding principles that can serve as a common foundation for the work across the federal government

    • A tool for agencies to develop a strategic vision and action plan to advance equity, and guidance on how to launch this journey

  • LAO Analysis of the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant:  The California Legislative Analyst has released its analysis of the Small Business Grant proposal in the Governor’s proposed 2021-22 budget.  Highlights and findings include:

    • The California Relief Grant program was created in December 2020 with $500 million in pandemic-related emergency funds. This program awards grants up to $25,000 to small businesses impacted by the pandemic.  The Governor proposes to expand the program by $575 million General Fund in the current year.

    • The aim of the small business grants - providing targeted financial assistance to businesses affected by the pandemic - is good, but it is not clear whether the program is achieving that goal.  The administration has not made available key details about how this program is being administered. Further, applicants and other stakeholders have raised several concerns.

    • While the rapid launch of the small business grants program was reasonable in the context of the pandemic, we think it would now be prudent to defer immediate action on expanding it until the Legislature can get more information about the existing program and consider ways to improve it, as outlined in our handout.

  • Office of the Small Business Advocate:  The Office of the Small Business Advocate released its mandatory annual report covering October 2019 to September 30, 2020.  The report covers the Small Business Technical Assistance Program, Small Business Technical Assistance Expansion Program, and the Capital Infusion Program, as well as pandemic initiatives.  Highlights include:

    • The webpages of the Office of the Small Business Advocate had 82,821 views, which accounted for 11.2% of all views on the GO-Biz website.

    • 3,770 small businesses were assisted through customer service emails, voicemails, direct phone calls, and direct email by the Office of the Small Business Advocate during 209-20, which was a 4494% increase from 2018-19 report period.

    • The #ShopSafeShopLocal campaign, an initiative of the Governor’s Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery, created public awareness around shopping local and small.  The campaign website had 36,731 total views with the average viewer spending 4.15 minutes on the page.  There were 6,765 total events, including downloads, email sign-ups, outbound links of partner resources, and digital media toolkit downloads.

    • The Get Digital CA! campaign provided online resources and hosted webinars to assist small businesses increase their online presence.  Over 1,250 people participated in a 4-part workshop series hosted in partnership with Google.

  • PPIC Commentary on Recovery:  The Public Policy Institute of California released an editorial that was published in "CalMatters" regarding the state’s challenge in achieving an equitable economic recovery, Commentary:  An Equitable Recovery for California Requires Two Key Strategies.  “Given the severe economic distress, how can policymakers help our state avoid the pitfalls of previous recoveries, which left low-income Californians further behind? An equitable recovery requires two key strategies: First, target critical support to those most affected in the near term. Second, help people climb the economic ladder in the long term.”

  • Rise in Asian Hate:  The Asian Health Services developed a slide presentation on the challenges Asian community members face in accessing resources to prevent and treat COVID-19.  At the same time that the community's health needs are being ignored, there is also a rise in discrimination and hostile acts toward people perceived to be of Asian descent.   

  • Small Business Credit Survey:  The Fed Small Business issued a report, 2021 Report on Employer Firms.  Key findings include:  Small businesses continue to face significant t challenges amid the COVID-19 pandemic, including weak demand, heightened expenses, and limited credit availability. Nearly one-third of firms say they’re unlikely to survive without additional government aid until sales recover.  The Fed Small Business is a source of small business research and analysis by the 12 Reserve Banks of the Federal Reserve System.    

  • Small Business Pulse Survey:  The US Census Bureau released new data from the fifth phase of the Small Business Pulse Survey.  This data was collected between July 12 and 18, 2021.  A selection of results is reported below.

    • 30.1% of responding businesses in California reported that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a large negative impact on their business.  This is 4.9% higher than the national average.

    • 10.1% of responding businesses in California reported they had less workers in the review week than the prior week.  This was 1% higher than the overall US response.

    • 22.5% of responding businesses in California reported an increase in revenues from the prior week, which was 2.2% higher than the national response.

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