Small businesses employ nearly half of U.S. workers and are widely seen as trustworthy institutions closely linked to the American dream. COVID spurred the creation of a record 10.4 million new businesses in the United States, with women – especially women of color – leading the entrepreneurial renaissance.
Yet the entrepreneurs who are leading the way are also the most likely to lack access to capital and professional skills they need to run their businesses:
- In 2021, nearly 50% of new small businesses in the U.S. were led by women entrepreneurs, but they only received only 4% of small business loans. Still, 60% of our FY23 Business Resource Library users were women – indicating a strong desire for mentorship and resiliency.
- Black small business owners are 3 times more likely than their white counterparts to lack capital access. Research shows that many of these entrepreneurs also rely on family and friends to help navigate business challenges because of limited access to formal networks and support.
- Latino entrepreneurs face a 60% lower approval rate for bank loans even though the number of Hispanic business owners has increased 33% more than non-Hispanic business owners in recent years. Many Hispanic small business owners also report struggling with access to E-Commerce and marketing knowledge.
These entrepreneurs are not only under-financed, but also lack access to relevant and culturally competent guidance and support. This exclusionary trend doesn’t just impact these individuals and their family’s wealth; it cascades through local communities, stifles growth, limits job creation, and impedes overall economic progress.
Small businesses are back. It’s time to back small businesses.
With the heart of a nonprofit and the mind of an investor, Accion Opportunity Fund invests in a more inclusive financial system that gives underinvested entrepreneurs a fair shot at opportunity — but we cannot achieve this alone.
Your donation empowers AOF to provide accessible capital and coaching to entrepreneurs who are excluded from traditional financing and support networks.