Poll finds minority business owners most negatively impacted by pandemic in California

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A recent Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll found minority small business owners were significantly more negatively impacted by the pandemic compared to their counterparts.

The pandemic has tested business owner Regina Harris who was vending patchwork jackets prior to COVID.

"We traveled as far as to Atlanta selling our patchwork jackets and after the pandemic hit our vending opportunities were zero," said Harris.

No festivals, no business. She could have thrown in the towel but that's not her way.

"I'm not a quitter," said Harris.

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Instead she pivoted, creating her own patch business called Prideful Patchez.

"I wanted to have a line of patches that spoke to the African American experience," said Harris.

Harris isn't alone. According to a recent Berkeley Institute of Government Studies or IGS poll of small business owners, Black and Latino small business owners were much more likely to state that COVID negatively impacted their ability to keep their business open, maintain their staff and stabilize their revenues.

Professor Cristina Mora is IGS' Co-Director.

"The racial disparities we see broadly in the state also translate into the small business owner sphere," said Mora.

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A group of entrepreneurs in San Francisco's Bayview neighborhood were busy starting new businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.



The poll found minority business owners were also significantly less likely to state that they had applied for and received PPP loans.

"I don't think I understood the process very well," said Harris.

Harris says she did apply and receive other forms of assistance.

Some of her friends were not as lucky.

Mora says the poll indicates aid to minority business owners will be critical if California is going to fully recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic.

RELATED: Grant aims to help African American, minority businesses in Oakland survive COVID-19

"If we don't pay attention to racial ethnic disparities we'll likely exacerbate them," said Mora.

Harris couldn't agree more.

"I'm just really thankful that there has been this attention brought to us and that we're getting the help and the support we need to sustain," said Harris.

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