Dwan Dandridge founded Black Leaders Detroit in 2019 to help increase access to cash for Black entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders in Detroit.
The issue is a systemic one in the Motor City and around the country. A survey conducted last year by the Bank of America showed that 56% of Black business owners said they often faced obstacles obtaining credit. A whopping 82% of entrepreneurs of color said they often felt like they had to work harder to gain access to capital. About 1,050 small-business owners with annual revenue of $100,000 to $5 million were surveyed for the report.
Dandridge says that starting to offer no-interest business loans earlier this year has opened up a wave of applicants looking to grow their small businesses in the city.
“In three months time, we received $2.2 million in requests,” he says. “People who have not and would not apply for funding are applying [with us] because they know that if they get denied, they’re not gonna worry about it being because they were Black.”
Visit blackleadersdetroit.org for more information or to support their cause.
Listen: Dwan Dandridge aims to provide inclusive access to capital for Black entrepreneurs with Black Leaders Detroit.