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Denver's minority-owned businesses finding it hard to reopen

Many are cut out of coronavirus loans
Billions allocated to help minority-owned businesses stay afloat during pandemic
Posted at 12:24 PM, May 22, 2020
and last updated 2021-01-05 19:12:55-05

DENVER — As Colorado and the country rebounds from the pandemic, many minority business owners are finding it hard to reopen.

Mi Casa Resource Center, a nonprofit that helps people improve their job opportunities and economic opportunities, recently conducted a survey of more than 800 minority-owned businesses and minority workers in the Denver metro area.

Mi Casa CEO Monique Lovato told Denver7 the survey revealed hundreds of business owners are giving up their dream businesses and have decided to get another job.

“Over half — 55% — of businesses we interviewed were immediately negatively impacted by COVID-19. These are businesses owners, entrepreneurs, and suddenly they're workers again,” said Lovato.

According to a recent ABC News report, very few minority run businesses have received a coronavirus loan.

“Black and brown people are being shut out of government stimulus programs,” said Lovato.

Mi Casa’s survey also found that 16% of businesses surveyed are on the brink of closing for good.

One Denver minority business owner who is trying to stop that from happening is Angela Ray.

Ray owns Taste the Love Cooking, a catering company that provides food for events of up to 800 people.

But over the past few weeks, one by one, all the events Ray was scheduled to cater were canceled.

“I understand why, but from a business perspective it’s very challenging and very sad,” she said.

Ray decided to try a new business model by using her great grandmothers pie crust recipe combined with her own barbecue recipe to make savory pie kits.

The pie kits come with her great grandmother's pie crust, meat, veggies, and flavorings that customers can put together at home and bake.

“We have 3 different pies: barbecue pulled pork, spinach and mushroom pie — for my vegan and vegetarian friends — then what we call chicken ranch pie,” said Ray.

Ray said so far, pie kit sales have been good.

“I can’t say it hasn't been a struggle, I can't say that there haven’t been challenges, but I can say we refused to give up,” she said.

But Lovato said some minority owned businesses are finding it too hard to pivot to something new. She said she is concerned the city is going to lose some of it’s entrepreneurial spirit because people will be too afraid to take the risk.