Disparities faced by entrepreneurs of color highlighted by Silicon Valley Bank collapse

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By 5mustsee.com


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  <span class="source__text" data-editable="source">CNN</span>

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        Following the rush of customers at <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2023/04/10/business/warren-aoc-silicon-valley-bank/index.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Silicon Valley Bank</a> trying to withdraw billions of dollars last month, Arlan Hamilton, a venture capitalist, assisted founders of color who were concerned about losing access to payroll funds.

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        With close to a decade of business experience as a Black woman, Hamilton understood the limitations faced by these startup founders.

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        Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) was known for serving individuals from underrepresented communities similar to Hamilton's. Its collapse has sparked renewed worries among experts about discrimination in lending within the banking sector and the resulting disparities in financial resources for people of color.

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        At the age of 43, Hamilton, the founder and managing partner of Backstage Capital, highlighted the challenges faced by entrepreneurs of color, stating, "we’re already in the smaller house. We already have the rickety door and the thinner walls. And so, when a tornado comes by, we’re going to get hit harder."

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        Established in 1983, SVB was the 16th largest bank in the U.S. by the end of 2022 before <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2023/03/10/investing/svb-bank/index.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">its collapse on March 10.</a> SVB catered to nearly half of all venture-backed technology and life-sciences companies in the country.

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        According to Hamilton and industry experts, SVB was dedicated to fostering a supportive environment for minority entrepreneurs by providing both social and financial backing.
A bank run took down Silicon Valley Bank on March 10, as depositors withdrew  billion in a single day.
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        Hamilton mentioned that SVB actively sponsored conferences and networking events for minority entrepreneurs, contributing to initiatives like the <a href="https://www.blckvc.org/sbvr2023" target="_blank" rel="noopener">State of Black Venture Report</a> led by BLK VC, an organization supporting and empowering Black investors.

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        Joynicole Martinez, a 25-year entrepreneur and chief advancement and innovation officer for Rising Tide Capital, emphasized SVB's unique approach by saying, "When other banks were saying no, SVB would say yes."

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        Martinez, also a member of the Forbes Coaches Council, acknowledged SVB's invaluable support for entrepreneurs of color, offering them <a href="https://www.svb.com/account/startup-banking-offers" target="_blank" rel="noopener">discounted tech tools</a> and research funding.

Challenges faced by many women and people of color

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        Entrepreneurs of color have historically encountered obstacles in accessing financial resources due to discriminatory lending practices, as highlighted by experts. Findings from the <a href="https://www.fedsmallbusiness.org/survey/2022/report-on-employer-firms" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Small Business Credit Survey</a> indicate disparities in loan denial rates between bank and nonbank sources.

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        The survey revealed that in 2021, only 16% of Black-owned businesses successfully secured the full amount of funding they sought from banks, compared to 35% of White-owned businesses.

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        Martinez emphasized the need to address the systemic racism prevalent in lending and banking practices, stating, "We have to start there and not tip-toe around it."

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

<h4>1. What sparked concerns about disparities in entrepreneurship for people of color?</h4>
The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and the resulting impact on entrepreneurs of color highlighted issues of discrimination in lending practices and unequal access to financial resources.

<h4>2. How did Silicon Valley Bank support minority entrepreneurs?</h4>
SVB sponsored events, provided financial and social capital, and offered discounted tech tools and research funding to entrepreneurs of color.

<h4>3. What challenges do entrepreneurs of color face in accessing capital?</h4>
Historically, discriminatory lending practices have led to disparities in loan approval rates, with Black-owned businesses receiving less funding compared to White-owned businesses.

<h4>4. What is being done to address racism in lending and banking?</h4>
<p>Experts emphasize the need to confront systemic racism in lending and banking practices to ensure fair access to financial resources for all entrepreneurs.</p>### Empowering Immigrant Founders: Overcoming Banking Challenges

Asya Bradley, an immigrant entrepreneur behind tech ventures like Kinley, strives to empower Black Americans in building generational wealth through her financial services enterprise. In the face of Silicon Valley Bank’s downfall, Bradley found solace and camaraderie in a WhatsApp group of fellow immigrant business owners, where mutual support and resource-sharing thrived.

Challenges for Immigrant Founders in Accessing Funding

According to Bradley, immigrant founders often encounter hurdles such as lacking Social Security numbers and permanent U.S. addresses, making it essential to brainstorm innovative approaches to secure funding within a system that may overlook their contributions.

Community and Regional Banks: A Vital Resource

Bradley highlights the significance of community and regional banks like Silicon Valley Bank for individuals from marginalized groups such as women, people of color, and immigrants. Many turn to these alternatives as major institutions like JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Citibank frequently reject their business endeavors.

Fostering Inclusivity in Banking

Despite facing rejection from major banks due to factors like gender, individuals like Bradley advocate for a shift towards institutions prioritizing inclusivity. While the top banks have not responded to queries from CNN, initiatives like JPMorgan Chase’s commitment to supporting underprivileged communities demonstrate steps towards economic and racial equality.

Investing in Underrepresented Entrepreneurs

Recognizing the disparities in traditional banking support, entrepreneurs often seek funding from sources like venture capitalists. Initiatives such as Backstage Capital, founded by individuals like Arlan Hamilton, focus on investing in companies led by underrepresented founders, thereby bridging the funding gap and promoting diversity in the entrepreneurial landscape.

The Path Forward

As Bradley continues her advocacy as an angel investor in minority-owned businesses, she remains optimistic about the role of community banks, regional banks, and fintech companies in upholding the legacy of Silicon Valley Bank’s positive impact.


What challenges do immigrant founders face in accessing funding?

Immigrant founders often encounter obstacles like the lack of Social Security numbers and permanent U.S. addresses, necessitating innovative funding strategies.

Why do many women, people of color, and immigrants opt for community or regional banks?

Individuals from marginalized groups turn to community and regional banks due to frequent rejections from major institutions like JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo.

How are initiatives like Backstage Capital fostering diversity in entrepreneurship?

Backstage Capital and similar ventures focus on investing in companies led by underrepresented founders, aiming to close the funding gap and promote inclusivity in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

What role do community banks, regional banks, and fintech companies play in supporting immigrant entrepreneurs?

These institutions serve as vital resources in empowering immigrant entrepreneurs by offering financial services and support often not provided by traditional banking giants.

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