"Black-owned businesses are not on a level playing field," said Jerome D. Williams in The Philadelphia Citizen

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Philadelphia, PA

The Philadelphia Citizen

Philadelphia can be a difficult city for anyone to do business in, with relentless waves of taxes, fees and regulations. Rates of African American ownership are particularly low: Only 2.4 percent of businesses in the Philadelphia area are black-owned, according to a recent Pew report—depriving neighborhoods of wealth, job opportunities and control of their economic destiny.

In an effort to increase support for black commerce, more than 280 businesses are taking part in the iBuyBlack discount card, offering price reductions, free gifts, and other perks to customers.  The program was launched in April by the Philadelphia Community of Leaders (PCOL), which sells the card for $10 on an iBuyBlack website. The directory of participating businesses includes restaurants, boutiques, realtors, law firms, construction companies and more, spread around the city and suburbs.

"Black-owned businesses are not on a level playing field," says Jerome D. Williams, Prudential Chair in Business as well as executive vice chancellor and provost at Rutgers University-Newark. "A lot of studies I've done show that black-owned businesses and black consumers are at a disadvantage in the marketplace."

Williams was part of a team that published research in 2014 showing that black small business owners have a disproportionately difficult time applying for loans. Other studies corroborate the challenges. A 2013 report by the Small Business Administration found that on average black- and Hispanic-owned businesses operate "with substantially less capital overall—both at startup and in subsequent years—relative to their non-minority counterparts." And Federal Reserve data from 2012 showed that minority business owners paid 32 percent higher interest rates on their loans than white business owners.

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TAGS: Jerome Williams Marketing Small Business Development