U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean hears challenges faced by Black small business owners

HATBORO — U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-4th Dist., visited Nutz About Popcorn in Hatboro on Tuesday for a roundtable with local Black small business owners to discuss the challenges they continue to encounter in their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices event was in recognition of Black Business Month, highlighting the efforts of Black small business owners in the area.

The visit to the popcorn shop started with a tour conducted by Lynette Smith, owner of Nutz About Popcorn. After the tour, Dean led a roundtable with local Black small business owners within her congressional district. The small business owners discussed the broad economic issues facing their businesses such as inflation, supply chain, and workforce retention/recruitment, along with childcare challenges and improving access to capital.

“The pandemic, and coming out of it, has placed a strain on small businesses — especially Black-owned and women-owned businesses that were already facing unique challenges,” Dean said in  a press release issued by her office. “I am deeply grateful to Hatboro’s Nutz About Popcorn and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses for hosting this roundtable during Black Owned Business Month. Small business owners’ stories help guide my work in Washington and help us develop a more vibrant yet equitable community.”

“I was so excited to welcome Congresswoman Madeleine Dean to Nutz About Popcorn. Over the last two years, my small business has experienced unprecedented challenges I could have never foreseen,” said Smith. “It was comforting to see other Black small business owners encountering and managing similar issues, from child care to minority representation in the business community. I felt Congresswoman Dean heard our concerns as her constituents and will take what we shared with her back to Washington.”

Last month, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices released its most recent survey, which found that among small businesses owners:

• 93 percent of all small business owners fear a recession is coming• 89 percent reported broader economic trends, such as inflation, supply chain, and workforce challenges are still harming their businesses• 84 percent said challenges hiring employees have worsened or stayed level over the past three months• 97 percent of those that have had difficulty hiring have said this has affected their bottom line• 55 percent of small business owners hiring said it takes two months on average to fill an open position with a qualified employee• 78 percent surveyed said that supply chain issues haven’t gotten any better over the last three months.

Despite everything that’s going against them in the economy, 65 percent of small business owners remain optimistic about the future.

This data is based on a survey of 1,533 Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses participants conducted by Babson College and David Binder Research.

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