Covid-19 has exposed some significant challenges for small and minority-owned businesses. According to recent research by the University of California-Santa Cruz, of companies shuttered since Feb. 2020, 41% of those businesses were black-owned compared to just 17% of white-owned establishments.
The Oklahoma City Council recently approved $2.75 million from the Oklahoma City CARES Act to support minority business owners during Covid-19. The Urban League’s CCSJ Department partnered with the Oklahoma City Alliance for Economic Development (the Alliance), Progress OKC, and the Black Chamber of Commerce – to assist African American business owners that qualified.
We were able to help African American business owners receive 1/3 of the CARES Act funding allocated for minority businesses. Currently, we are working with the Black Chamber, Progress OKC, the Alliance, and the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce to determine long-term support for small and minority-owned businesses.
Furthermore, we have created a historic partnership with the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber to create a more robust dialogue and increase the Oklahoma City business community’s engagement around issues of social justice and anti-racism. The partnership focuses on five areas of work with the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce:
- Initiating a business community conversation about Anti-Racism
- Establishing a diversity council and business community working group
- Creating leadership and mentoring programs
- Developing an annual research publication that tracks and reports on diversity and economic equality in Oklahoma City
- Launching an ongoing initiative to increase minority supplier networks and employment
Items in Progress
The Urban League of Greater Oklahoma City, Inc. and the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber have created a new monthly web-based series: Creating a Culture of Inclusion. These events are part of a partnership to create a more substantial dialogue and increase the Oklahoma City business community’s engagement in social justice and anti-racism issues. They will also help managers and business owners navigate new and challenging conversations about race while also ensuring their organization offers equitable opportunities for all. If you’re interested in participating in this conversation, you can register here- OKC Chamber Partnership.
Additionally, in partnership with the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, we will be launching diversity councils and business community working groups to strategize on inclusive economic development efforts for Oklahoma City. This partnership will create leadership and mentoring programs, develop an annual research publication that tracks and reports on diversity and economic equality in Oklahoma City, and launch an ongoing initiative to increase minority supplier networks and employment.