Entrepreneurial Access During A Pandemic
The overall challenges for existing and wishful entrepreneurs on a global level are stark. As the economy crashes, liquid assets are drying up quickly, especially for poor and middle-class individuals who may have had desires to turn towards entrepreneurial aspirations during COVID but lack access to financing, resulting in the pipeline of opportunity shrinking. The communities most impacted by COVID are the very ones where new ventures and first-time entrepreneurs will struggle to find the support needed to get off the ground, even if their idea could be transformative for their own communities.
Cuyper, Kucukkeles, and Reuben have some optimism that "what we see today is the potential for democratizing entrepreneurship and creating new entrepreneurial role models that people can more easily identify with. This could ultimately lower the threshold of entrepreneurship for many and stimulate people to start their own businesses". I am less hopeful, but I do see the opportunity presented with us - if only we would seize it.
Times of crisis can lead to robust change or severe tribalism, and unfortunately, I see the latter coming to bear far more often in both the United States and globally.
It certainly shouldn't be this way, but with organizations that have typically been able to offer grants and other financial support to marginalized entrepreneurs being just as strapped for cash - while clearinghouse on internal staff thus limiting internal support, the opportunity for mentoring is also diminishing.
In former political administrations, even led by Republicans, it is much easier to imagine a scenario where marginalized communities could access grants to help get their venture going or to keep them afloat as a means to keeping communities up and running through the affordance of potentially new local jobs or extra income into the area. Today, this imagined scene sounds like pure fantasy, as our government has failed time and time again to provide for American citizens during this global pandemic.
This failure to support up-in-coming entrepreneurs should be remedied quickly lest we lose the progress we have sustained over the last few decades. The solutions to some of the most complex issues of our will be developed by people who are not currently part of the dominant class - white, male, cis-gendered, able-bodied, or straight. We need to invest in diverse leadership as not only a means to revitalize communities but to also encourage diversity in thought, allowing us to better identify problems and their solutions in a timely manner.