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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

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As we rebuild from the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, emerging real estate and business entrepreneurs will play a critical role. Entrepreneurs can inject creativity, diversity, expertise and energy into our communities, accelerating recovery and restructuring local economies with greater resilience and parity, so we can collectively weather future economic shocks and waves.   

To provide emerging entrepreneurs a lifeline, the Biden-Harris Administration championed an exclusive window for small businesses to access the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) in February and March. Nevertheless, the program could assist just a fraction of Black-owned firms. Ron Busby, president and CEO of U.S. Black Chambers Inc. shared in an interview March 13 with CBS News that 2.5 million of the 2.6 million Black-owned firms in the United States do not have employees who could benefit from PPP. Support for emerging entrepreneurs requires a different approach, and business models will continue to evolve post-pandemic.  

ClickBank, an online retailer and marketplace, reported an 88.1% increase in account registrations during April 2020, when unemployment reached 14.7%. The data ClickBank reported suggests a trend toward commercialization of “side-gigs” in a way that could present significant opportunity to add long-term resilience and ownership parity to local economies. And as goes the economy, so goes the place.

Business development and community development are interdependent and complementary phenomena. During this sustained period of economic turmoil, Indiana has experienced a dramatic reshaping of the residential real estate market. According to U.S. Census estimates released March 9, rental vacancy in Indiana has exploded 39% year over year, a dramatic contrast to regional trends. Homeownership vacancy trended in parallel with other states in the region, but at a faster rate, declining by half from 2019 to 2020. The sparse availability of housing for homeownership is driving values to record levels.

Homeownership is the greatest wealth building asset for most households, even in a slow economy. Between 1980 and 2017, housing appreciation was nearly as profitable as financial assets, according to a December 2017 paper published in the National Bureau of Economic Research. (“The Rate of Return on Everything,” Jordà, et al.) To promote efficient economic recovery as well as equitable and resilient communities, Indiana could invest in emerging entrepreneurs and encourage development of vacant rental units into homeownership opportunities and online side-gigs into scalable businesses.

To embark on an effort to empower emerging entrepreneurs and rebuild communities across Indiana, Innopower and Local Initiative Support Corporation of Indianapolis will host a series of web-based tutorials for emerging entrepreneurs, who seek support with launching or growing a real estate development firm or small business. Participants who attend the entire series will be able to continue their entrepreneurial journey through regular conversations with public and private sector leaders throughout 2021. The future of Indiana’s communities will be defined by our capacity to innovate and collaborate.

The Indianapolis Recorder, InnoPower and LISC will host web-based tutorials for those in need of support to launch or grow a real estate development firm or small business.

Participants will learn about assistance available to emerging developers and entrepreneurs. Community-based development organizations, real estate developers and entrepreneurs will play a critical role in rebuilding the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The discussion will be led by experts in their fields:

Keith Broadnax, senior vice president of business development, Cinnaire

David Watkins, state director, Indiana Small Business Development Center

Jennifer Milliken, senior director, Urban Land Institute

Adam Hoeksema, executive director, Bankable

Aaron Laramore, senior program officer, LISC Indianapolis

The webinars will be 2-3 p.m. May 7, June 4 and July 2 on Facebook or Zoom.

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