The challenges and resilience of American small business

Small businesses in the country have faced a series of challenges in the past few years from historically high inflation to supply chain disruptions to the overall impact of the pandemic. Join Washington Post Live for conversations with New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell and entrepreneur Pinky Cole, founder of Slutty Vegan, about how continuing digital acceleration has opened up new strategies for resilience and the critical role small business plays in revitalizing communities and the larger economy.

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“I did not go to an Ivy League school; I did not read a gazillion books before I started Slutty Vegan, I did not go to all these big courses and pay top-dollar to hear people and celebrities speak. What I realized is that not knowing was alright and you don’t have to know everything. You just got to be excited about the journey. What keeps me going is that I remain confident in my journey even in the times that I don’t know.” – Pinky Cole (Video: Washington Post Live)

“Once upon a time it was so difficult for Black businesses, minority-owned businesses to get injections of capital to be able to grow their business… Our counterparts have always, historically gotten more than us. But what I realize now is we are in a ripe age now where Black-owned businesses, small businesses, minority-owned businesses are now getting the recognition that once upon a time they didn’t always get. Now there is an open sea of ​​opportunity to be able to get money to fund your business.” – Pinky Cole (Video: Washington Post Live)

“In cities like mine, the vitality of small businesses are even more important… Like other cities of our type, especially those with an industrial past, we don’t have Fortune 100 companies anchoring the regional economy… Our economy is driven by small businesses and so much of our identity is connected with small businesses… And people feel a sense of belonging to their neighborhoods in part because of the small businesses that they recognize and associate with.”- New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell (Video: Washington Post Live)

“In the first month of the pandemic, our unemployment rate, here in New Bedford, went from about 5 percent to about 24 percent. Businesses shut down and this wasn’t by virtue of any government orders at all, people didn’t want to go into restaurants and shops… My job as mayor, to a great degree, was to ensure that the public understood that it was ok to go in and order from a takeout pizza joint, for instance… So, I would… go around the city… showing up at places and ordering out and posting it on social media, so that everybody understood it was ok to do that… Stabilizing our small businesses required us to work very, very closely with them. To have an understanding of what their challenges were and to try… to ensure that they could pay the bills…. and keep the lights on.” – New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell (Video: Washington Post Live)

Founder & CEO, Slutty Vegan ATL

Content from Tito’s Handmade Vodka

The following content is produced and paid for by a Washington Post Live event sponsor. The Washington Post newsroom is not involved in the production of this content.

(Video: Washington Post Live)

Strengthening Small Businesses through Community and Innovation

In a segment sponsored by Tito’s Handmade Vodka, two small business owners who have followed their passions talk with Accion Opportunity Fund about the importance of community and innovative solutions to drive continued success.

Founder & CEO, Culinary Concepts AB

CEO, Accion Opportunity Fund

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