Effects of Covid-19, and What I’ve Learned About Detroit – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Effects of Covid-19, and What I’ve Learned About Detroit

So far at ProsperUS, most of what I’ve learned has revolved around business practices and how low-income and individuals of color struggle to become entrepreneurs. I learned about the wealth gap, the trust gap, and the credit gap. After learning about these disparities that affect all Black-owned small businesses in America from the AEO Tapestry report, it is easy to apply this to the context of Detroit and to see how the entrepreneurs whom I will be interviewing are affected in the same ways. In summary, the wealth gap refers to the overall lack of wealth Black Americans have compared to White Americans, and this provides a barrier to starting a business. With lack of wealth comes a lack of credit, and Black entrepreneurs are more likely to be denied a loan or approved for a lower amount than they requested. Finally, the trust gap refers to the distrust of lending institutions toward people of color, as there is an institutional bias that discourages business owners.

I think for ProsperUS, the Covid-19 pandemic initially created challenges, as the traditionally in-person entrepreneurship training courses had to move online, and it became more difficult to interact with community members. However, I’ve now heard that planning this course is easier this way in some regard, and they can move forward with the program. Also, in terms of the businesses I am directly engaging with who are apart of the Tapestry x FoodLab x ProsperUS fellowship, I think the pandemic slowed their progress. Most of these businesses seem to be getting on their feet, so I feel that Covid-19 has stalled their growth and possibly drawn their attention away from the cohort, but I am not entirely sure yet. 

3 thoughts on “Effects of Covid-19, and What I’ve Learned About Detroit”

  1. Hi Mackenzie! I have also been learning similar things at my placement and been interviewing developers in Detroit. That is not the focus of my questions that I ask, but I can certainly see the barriers that communities like Detroit face due to the wealth and credit gap specifically. Your role in interviewing community members will be so interesting and will definitely help out your placement, ProsperUS, with aiding entrepreneurs in the city. Keep it up! You got this:)

  2. It is devastating to me that, because of the pandemic, so many people are having to close their businesses permanently. Like you said, with the wealth, credit and trust gap, there are already so many barriers that Black entrepreneurs face. It is so unfair that after knocking down these obstacles and coming out on top with a business of their own, many small business owners face losing their life’s work and dream. I think the work you and your site is doing is so so valuable.

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