The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation released today a report on the disparity in small business lending.

As I mentioned in announcing a discussion of this topic yesterday, it’s about what you’d expect in a society where racial and gender discrimination exists in most aspects of human endeavor.

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From a news release:

The Arkansas Small Business Access to Capital report is part of WRF’s ABC’s of Equity series that includes the 2019 ALICE in Arkansas report, the most comprehensive picture of economic inequity in the state to date.
“Black-, brown- and women-owned businesses drive the creation of well-paying jobs as anchors of our communities,” says Sherece West-Scantlebury, WRF’s CEO. “Ensuring they have equitable access to start-up and growth capital is common sense when it comes to securing the future of our state.”
The report analyzed loan data as well as survey and focus groups in order to offer recommendations for how the government and banking institutions can provide more inclusive financing opportunities. The findings show American Indian-, Black- and Hispanic-owned businesses account for 13 percent of the state’s small businesses, but they received less than two percent of the nearly $1 billion Small Business Administration (SBA) loan dollars awarded in Arkansas over the last five years. Women-owned businesses, which make up one third of the state’s small businesses received as little as five percent. 
According to the study, nearly 75 percent of Arkansas minority entrepreneurs depend on personal cash and funds for financing compared to 55 percent of white entrepreneurs. These business owners applied for lending at a disproportionately lower rate yet were denied at a higher rate. The report showed the most common barriers to applying and receiving loans were concerns about credit history, collateral and negative interactions with traditional banks. For those who have received loans, minority business owners rated Arkansas SBA and Community Development Financial Institutions as the most favorable lending sources.
“These are ALICE business owners, and they are ingenious, thrifty, creative and motivated,” said Philip Adams, executive director of FORGE Community Loan Fund, which supplied the highest amount of dollars among microlenders at approximately $4.5 million in total, with 24 percent provided to Black business owners. “We have the flexibility to meet them where they are.”
To view the full study, please visit wrfoundation.org/publication-post/abcs-equity/.