Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020 - 3

FOOD ENTREPRENEUR

COMMENTARY

Supporting diverse entrepreneurs
Emerging initiatives address racial inequities in business
BY MONICA WATROUS

June 23, 2020

Advancing racial equality will require
a reckoning on tough realities many
have had the luxury to ignore.
Dickinson, co-founder of the JEDI Collaborative. "A more
diverse natural products industry is vital to solving food
and agricultural system challenges we all face and work
hard to address every day."
Kansas City-based equity2 is an investment firm
that launched last year and is dedicated to supporting
later-stage businesses in communities lacking significant
financial infrastructure and institutional capital.
Emily Lecuyer, managing director of equity2, described several barriers and biases minority-led businesses encounter and the need for "friendly and patient"
capital to empower those often overlooked by mainstream
financial institutions.
"We'll only make progress if we leverage the full
power of private capital markets," Ms. Lecuyer said. "We
can't do this based on government interventions and
policies or philanthropy. It requires us to think differently about the trillions of dollars sitting on Wall Street
being invested in ways that don't align with the world we
want to see. It will require a fundamental shift in how we
allocate capital."
Dismantling structural racism is everyone's responsibility. Advancing racial equality will require a reckoning
on tough realities many have had the luxury to ignore. As
individuals and industry, we must challenge longstanding
perceptions and commit to conscious action. ▪
Food Business News

33

©RCFOTOSTOCK - STOCK.ADOBE.COM

T

he impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has been
particularly devastating for black entrepreneurs in
the United States, whose businesses were disproportionately battered by shutdowns and demand shifts
related to the pandemic.
The number of active black business owners
dropped by 41% to 637,769 in April from 1,079,116 in
February, according to research by Robert W. Fairlie, a
professor of economics at the University of California,
Santa Cruz. Comparatively, the number of white business owners declined 17% to 8,761,531 from 10,553,415,
Latino business owners dropped 32% to 1,412,925 from
2,070,896, and Asian business owners fell 26% to 657,896
from 888,528.
The numbers illuminate systemic challenges for
communities of color during a historic moment of
racial unrest in America following a string of slayings of
unarmed black people. The pandemic's effects compound the disparities in the opportunities and resources
available to socially and economically disadvantaged
populations.
"We are seeing black and brown businesses going
out of business much faster than white businesses in the
middle of this pandemic because they were not able to
reserve the funds and were not able to get the loans that
other businesses have been able to get," said Ijeoma Oluo,
a writer and speaker on race and gender issues. "Entrepreneurs of color who are trying to start their own businesses
are finding huge systemic roadblocks where many white
people are not."
Emerging initiatives address these inequities and
offer solutions. The recently launched JEDI Collaborative promotes justice, equity, diversity and inclusion in
the natural products industry. The program provides
a framework for embedding the principles within a
company's culture. Businesses with diverse organizations deliver 21% higher financial performance and 27%
higher likelihood
of long-term value
creation, according
to the consultancy
McKinsey and Co.
"There are
many proof points
demonstrating that
more diverse teams
not only drive better
decisions, but more
profits, more growth
and significantly
Monica Watrous is the managing
more innovation
editor of Food Business News.
revenue," said Lara
Email mwatrous@sosland.com.


http://STOCK.ADOBE.COM

Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020

Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020 - 1
Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020 - 2
Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020 - 3
Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020 - 4
Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020 - 5
Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020 - 6
Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020 - 7
Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020 - 8
Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020 - 9
Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020 - 10
Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020 - 11
Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020 - 12
Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020 - 13
Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020 - 14
Food Entrepreneur - June 23, 2020 - 15
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/fbn_fe/food-entrepreneur-may-10-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/fbn_fe/food-entrepreneur-february-15-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/fbn_fe/food-entrepreneur-october-12-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/fbn_fe/food-entrepreneur-august-17-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/fbn_fe/food-entrepreneur-june-22-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/fbn_fe/food-entrepreneur-may-11-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/fbn_fe/food-entrepreneur-march-3-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/fbn_fe/2021_01_05
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/fbn_fe/2020_12_08
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/fbn_fe/2020_09_15
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/fbn_fe/2020_06_23
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/fbn_fe/2020_05_12
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/fbn_fe/2020_03_03
https://www.nxtbook.com/sosland/fbn_fe/2020_01_07
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com