Black residents represent more than 23% of the population of Louisville. But, only about 2% of the city’s businesses are owned by blacks. This could be attributed to the racial prejudice and discrimination that people of color face. in the form of economic, cultural and institutional barriers.
Mayor Greg Fischer on Thursday promoted the city’s efforts, including $ 14.6 million in Metro Council latest budget which aims to tackle inequalities and encourage opportunities for businesses run by people of color.
“Black and minority-owned businesses have faced some of the harshest impacts of the pandemic, because in most cases a lot of them were already starting far away in the first place, really, due to differences in entrepreneurship and commercial presence, ”said Fischer. “And all of a sudden the corporate strategy shifted from prosperity to just trying to survive and get through the year.”
The city awarded the Black-led accounting and consulting firm SKS $ 200,000 to help businesses grow. Fischer said that in addition, the company will provide administrative support to those recovering from COVID-19 losses. Kena Samuel Stith is the CEO of the company.
“Sometimes they’re very comfortable because we look the same,” Samuels Stith said. “We try to make sure they have the right accounting, media, marketing and operational functions.”
Equal Wealth Advocates Said prioritizing direct financial assistance to black businesses and communities to a significant change. But, only about $ 4 of $ 14.6 million Council funding will be directly available to POC-owned businesses through loan and financial assistance programs. The majority of the funding will go to a new state-mandated effort build and maintain wealth in the West End.
Last year, advocates and leaders of the black community called on local authorities to withdraw $ 50 million of money dedicated to public safety and, instead, invest it in a black community fund to mitigate the lasting effects of systemic racism – including money for new and existing small businesses.
The Metro Council has not changed the funding for the Louisville Metro Police Department. The department is allocated more than $ 198 million, or about a quarter of Louisville’s annual operating budget.