Real Talk, Real Solutions: Challenges, resources for Black entrepreneurs

Black business ownership rates dropped 41% between February, April 2020

ORLANDO, Fla. – For the last 16 months, News 6 has been committed to having hard and, often times, uncomfortable conversations about equity, progress and the lack thereof.

It all started with a town hall about racial inequality in America after the death of George Floyd sparked protests around the world and right here in Central Florida. The conversations continued as News 6 brought together more local experts to discuss criminal justice reform, equality in schools and the power of the minority vote.

News 6 also focused on local trailblazers who helped pave the way for others in a variety of fields.

While we have covered a lot of ground, the conversation is not over. News 6 is transforming these hour-long town halls into shorter monthly conversations focused on solutions to the issues impacting minority communities around Central Florida.

The first episode focuses on entrepreneurship.

Check out the Real Talk, Real Solutions podcast in the media player below:

Did you know less than 1% of Black business owners have made $1 million or more? According to the Stanford Graduate School of Business, only 0.7% have reached that mark. The school also reports that Black people owned fewer and smaller businesses. But from 2012 to 2017, the growth in Black-owned businesses climbed at a higher rate than other businesses.

Still, the pandemic has been especially hard for Black business owners. In 2020, Black business ownership rates dropped 41% from February to April 2020, the largest rate of any racial group, according to a report by the House Committee on Small Business. Black business owners also had a harder time getting Paycheck Protection loans during the pandemic.

For our first episode, Lauren Spivey, the owner of Spivey Spa in Longwood, and the president of the National Association of Women Business Owners of Orlando and Lena Graham-Morris, vice president of Horus Construction, joined us to talk about their experiences.

While both women say they had entrepreneurs in their family, both also say their business journeys lead to homelessness before they ever reached success and that they learned a lot along the way.

These are their top tips:

  • Be committed

“If it’s not everything that you want when you wake up, go to sleep, breathe, if you are not willing to give up everything that you have to run your business you need to take a second look,” Graham-Morris said.

  • Have a plan

“I think that you always have to have a plan. I tell my consulting clients in everything I do, you have to have a plan because in those moments -- because there will be those dark moments -- those moments of doubt. It’s a point of reference for you. You go back and you look at the plan. You have to have a strong business plan. It’s a working document, operating plan, marketing plan, all of those plans in place so that in those moments where you’re, like, “Hmm, I don’t remember why I was doing this,’ you look at the plan,” Graham-Morris said.

  • Build a community

“Even if you don’t have it within your family or friends already, you need good counsel whether it is paid or not, not being afraid to pay people who know what they are talking about because if you don’t, if you are just relying on your ideas and you have never done this before you are set to fail,” Spivey said.

Graham-Morris added, “Have an accountability partner that is in a safe space you can be vulnerable with. You say, ‘You know what girl, I don’t know if I can do this and more,’ and they can talk you through it. That’s very important.”

To hear more about Graham-Morris & Spivey’s business challenges, triumphs & advice check out the latest episode of Real Talk Real Solutions (link to episode on YouTube).

News 6 Insider reporter Crystal Moyer previously interviewed anchor Ginger Gadsden about the new approach to Real Talk.

“Some of the things we talk about, it hurts. And the only way to get the core of that, sometimes on the other side of that hurt is healing and some answers and that’s what I’m hoping we do with every single episode,” Gadsden said.

Real Talk Real Solutions is a platform Gadsden said is beneficial for people of all races, backgrounds and careers.

“With Real Talk Real Solutions, we talk to people, we address an issue and we also hopefully, give them some tools in their kit they can unpack and use in their own lives,” Gadsden said. “There isn’t a quick solution, but I hope that people learn something and sometimes the hope is that they walk away with more questions for next time.”

Instead of the hour-long town hall Real Talk: A Candid Conversation provided in the past, Real Talk Real Solutions is a shorter program under 15 minutes. Gadsden gets straight to the point, getting your questions answered and driving the conversation in a shorter format that’s easier to digest.

About the Author:

Crystal Moyer is a morning news anchor who joined the News 6 team in 2020.