MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - COVID-19 has impacted many businesses, and Black-owned businesses have been especially hit hard.
In an effort to help, faith and business leaders put their heads together to offer solutions.
“This pandemic has pushed many, most businesses into a virtual space that some are not prepared for,” said Rev. J. Lawrence Turner, pastor at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church.
Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church and the Memphis Black Business Association hosted the virtual 901 Buy Black Conference Wednesday.
“What we wanted to do was help and assist those businesses that don’t have any digital assets to move into the virtual space and have the assets they need,” said Rev. Lawrence.
“There’s 36,000 Black business in Memphis, and how do we really get everybody moving in the same direction,” said Mark Yates, President of the Memphis Black Business Association.
Yates says earlier his organization researched how many Black-owned business could access loans through the Paycheck Protection Program and other financial resources.
Yates says they discovered just how big of an impact COVID-19 would have on these businesses.
“It was really about $2 billion negative impact to black businesses, that’s what’s happening in our community right now,” said Yates.
As a result, Yates and Turner made sure to invited a wide range of financial advisers and organizations like the Mid-south minority business council, epicenter Memphis, River city capital and many more to join the virtual conference.
Organizers say this conference is just the beginning of the conversation.
The Memphis Black Business Association plans to hold weekly discussions for business owners to help them shift to a digital setting.