Next Street and Common Future partnered with the Women’s Business Center RVA, ReeSources, Inc., and a collection of local stakeholders in Greater Richmond to examine the current state of play of the region’s small business communities and supporting ecosystem, with a specific lens on local businesses owned by people of color and the COVID-19 response and recovery.
The path forward
This assessment culminates in a set of recommendations and a proposed path forward aimed at significantly narrowing racial gaps in business ownership, revenue, and employment across all of Greater Richmond within the next five years, with the long-term goal of closing the racial gaps. There is an opportunity to meet small businesses owned by people of color where they are, provide them with capital, services, and opportunities that have a transformational impact on their businesses, and create wealth and vibrancy in their communities.
How we approached the assessment
With the financial support of JPMorgan Chase & Co., Next Street and Common Future studied Greater Richmond’s unique economic and social context and the state of play for the region’s small business communities, identifying critical needs in equitable access to capital, customers, and services. The research was then synthesized and shared with a coalition of over 30 local stakeholders, led by Shirley Crawford, Women’s Business Center RVA, and Carol Reese, ReeSources, Inc., to inform strategies co-created to address the historical inequities for small businesses owned by people of color, deepened by the COVID-19 crisis.
This research approach spanned across nine cities and regions across the U.S. throughout 2020 and 2021 and is centered around community engagement and fostering a network of relationships among local community organizations and leaders to catalyze solutions focused on racial equity and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic