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Small Biz Struggling to Access Capital

Scientific Poll: Small Businesses Struggling to Access Capital, Harming their Financial Recovery

Small Business Majority

First published February 2021

Nearly a year into the COVID-19 pandemic that has devastated our country and economy, small business owners continue to experience significant financial setbacks that are being exacerbated by challenges accessing the capital they need to sustain their businesses. A new national survey of small business owners sheds light on their struggles to secure financing and their views on policy solutions that could help small businesses survive and grow post-pandemic.

The poll was conducted by Lake Research Partners for Small Business Majority and surveyed 500 small business owners nationwide, with oversamples of Black, Latino and Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) entrepreneurs. The survey also explores how small business owners accessed capital before the COVID-19 crisis, underscoring why many may have struggled with federal relief programs. Before the pandemic hit, more than 1 in 5 (21%) small businesses did not have a business banking relationship with a bank or credit union. Small business owners of color were also much less likely to have a business banking relationship pre-pandemic—31% of Black, 28% AAPI, and 26% of Latino business owners lacked business banking. Overall, roughly 4 in 10 small business owners have not obtained any capital like loans or lines or credit from any lending institution, or even from friends or family. Thirty-one percent of Black and 38% of Latino small business owners had not sought out capital before the pandemic.

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