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Cox Small Business Snapshot: Minority-Owned Main Street

A survey of more than 700 American minority business owners uncovers the top challenges they are facing in the post-pandemic market and how they are making their comeback.

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Fueling Passion and Independence

Of surveyed business owners, 86% are founders. 36% of respondents chose to start their own businesses to follow their passions, and 21% were inspired by a desire for financial independence.

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Minority-Owned Business Marketing

Nearly half of the respondents actively promote that their business is minority-owned, and 43% believe that being minority-owned has generated more sales in the last year.

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Investing in the Future

81% of business owners put their stimulus money directly back into their business.


The majority of 18-44 year old business owners are keen on implementing new products and services, like eCommerce, this year, as well as new technologies into their business processes. Business owners that are 45 years and older aren’t quite as convinced with less than half saying yes to new technology.

Business Barriers

When starting their businesses, respondents claim that accessing funding/capital, growing a customer base and business planning and structuring were their biggest challenges.

Illustrations of barriers to business for minority owners: revenue growth chart, shopping basket, and magnifying glass over a line graph

More than 65% of respondents, primarily among owners 18-29 years old, feel that these challenges are unique to minority-owned businesses.

Helping Hand How-to

Business owners want the following support from large enterprises.

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Posting with a Purpose

Some business owners are using their social media platforms to speak out ad support the social justice movement.

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Illustration of smartphone receiving a message alert
Illustration of radio show microphone with slash mark through it

Those younger than 45 are more likely to leverage social media channels as a platform to discuss the social justice movement, with 20% claiming to be very vocal and 41% claiming to post/comment sparingly. Meanwhile, those 45 and up are more reluctant as half of the respondents were not vocal at all.

Illustration of a balance scale with social media icons for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn weighing it down on the left, and a volume icon with a slash through it raised on the right

85% of those that have posted about social justice have seen a positive response.

On the Road Again

Less than half of business owners 45 years and older have returned to their pre-pandemic financial levels. Meanwhile, well over half of business owners younger than 45 have reached or exceeded their pre-pandemic levels.

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Nearly 90% of all surveyed business owners are hopeful about growth in the next year and the future of their businesses.

Paycheck Protection

Just over half of the respondents say they applied for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, and of those who applied:

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COVID-19 Business Side Effects

Over 75% of respondents claimed the pandemic heightened their business challenges, specifically in the areas of payroll, paying their rent/lease/mortgage and covering utilities.

Illustrations of COVID-19 related business challenges: small business storefront, wrench inside gear, and bar chart on laptop computer with upward arrow and dollar sign

About the 2021 Cox Business Comeback Survey

Cox commissioned a survey solely focused on the challenges of minority-owned businesses. We aimed to catch a glimpse of the issues they face – and more importantly, how they rise above. Respondents to the online survey included a total of 742 business owners. The margin of error for this survey is plus or minus 3 percent.