GUEST COLUMN: Black-Owned Businesses Are Making History In Colorado

Colorado small-business owners are some of the strongest, most creative, and resilient people you will meet. In recent years, our small-business community has weathered a global pandemic, persistent supply chain issues, sometimes volatile prices, and a tight labor market.

Black-owned businesses in our state have faced disproportionate impacts from these pandemic challenges. Despite those headwinds, Black entrepreneurs across Colorado are fueling one of the largest and most diverse waves of new business creation America has ever seen—what President Joe Biden calls America’s Small Business Boom.

As we mark America’s 48th national celebration of Black History Month, the SBA is highlighting Black entrepreneur achievements in Colorado and throughout the nation. The past three years have been the three strongest years of new business formation in U.S. history.

The 16 million new business applications filed during this period show Americans starting businesses at nearly twice the rate — 86% faster — compared with the pre-2021 average. During that time, U.S. small businesses have created more than 7.2 million net jobs. And Black-owned businesses are responsible for some of the most significant gains.

This historic entrepreneurial boom didn’t come out of nowhere. Biden’s Investing in America agenda reopened our nation’s economy, brought back “Made in America” manufacturing, and restored America’s global competitiveness.

These investments are powering the Biden Small Business Boom, and unlike many economic recoveries of the past, this one includes entrepreneurs of color.

One of the reasons for that is the SBA’s Community Navigator Pilot Program. This innovative hub-and-spoke partnership connected hundreds of community organizations around the country — like the U.S. Black Chambers of Commerce and the National Urban League — with entrepreneurs, helping them make the most of SBA resources so their small businesses can grow and thrive.

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Under SBA Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman’s leadership, the agency has also delivered record-breaking government contracting for small businesses — including the most federal contracting dollars going to minority-owned businesses in history. And we’re addressing longstanding gaps in access to capital for Black entrepreneurs, more than doubling our small business loans to Black-owned businesses since 2020.

These investments are making a big impact. Black business ownership is growing at the fastest pace in 30 years. The share of Black households owning a business doubled between 2019 and 2022. In 2023, Census data showed Americans filed 5.5 million new business applications across the country, including 143,000 in Colorado. That success is creating a rising tide.

While Colorado’s Black-owned businesses continue to power the small business boom, our work is far from done. Despite record dollars reaching Black-owned businesses through government contracting, longstanding disparities persist.

Recently, the president announced his goal to increase the share of federal contracts with Small Disadvantaged Businesses to 15% by fiscal year 2025. This represents a massive increase over historical averages — and a 50% increase from when he first took office, and a huge step towards equity.

The SBA also understands that, even in good times, minority entrepreneurs and other historically underserved communities (including women, veterans, and rural) still face obstacles accessing capital.

That’s why the SBA is committed to ensuring that anyone with a good idea can pursue that opportunity. We’re helping more Americans than ever access the funds they need to realize their dreams of small business ownership — and that means more jobs, more goods and services, and more resilient communities, no matter the ZIP code.

Aikta Marcoulier serves as the SBA’s Region VIII Administrator in Denver. She oversees the agency’s programs and services in Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.

Aikta Marcoulier serves as the SBA’s Region VIII Administrator in Denver. She oversees the agency’s programs and services in Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.

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