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Delaware Black Chamber of Commerce set to launch soon

Katie Tabeling

Ayanna Khan
Khan Consulting LLC

MIDDLETOWN — To amplify the voices of and opportunities for success for Black business owners, a Middletown consultant is leading efforts to form a Delaware chapter of the National Black Chamber of Commerce.

Khan Consulting President and CEO Ayanna Khan started the groundwork for the Delaware Black Chamber of Commerce (DEBCC) this summer, but envisions a future organization that not only advocates for Black business owners, but also grants them a door to funding opportunities and workforce development.

“There is definitely a disconnect in the business community when it comes to helping Black business owners,” Khan told Delaware Business Times. “This will be the state’s first chapter, and it’s time to start one. We need to pull together to make sure these businesses are not left behind.”

A survey conducted by the Global Strategy Group showed that only 12% of Black and Latino businesses who applied for aid from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) received the full loan amount requested. About 26% of businesses surveyed received only a fraction of what was requested.

In Delaware, 14 out of the total 2,073 PPP loan recipients identified as businesses or nonprofits run by a person of color. Of the 14, five recipients identified as a Black-owned business or organization. Overall, 138 applicants identified as white and 1,921 applicants did not identify their race.

That inequality spoke volumes to Khan, especially since her firm helped nonprofits bring in millions through grants and fundraising. 

“Seeing that Black business owners locked out of the PPP across the country because they didn’t fit the eligibility or the requirements, that really spoke to me,” Khan added. “Here I am, able to bring in millions for my clients and there’s a chance that businesses like mine wouldn’t see anywhere near the amount. No matter where you are in the state, it’s access to capital that’s the main struggle for Black businesses.”

The DEBCC is on track to open in mid-September and Khan is looking into finding an office in Wilmington and Dover. Those two cities are on the short-list due to the proximity to ongoing initiatives and collaboration in community spaces, she said.

Once open, the DEBCC will start programs and events programs and events like networking opportunities, training and education through connections with big businesses and smaller Black-owned companies. There would also be an entrepreneurship development program to keep business owners ahead of the curve of Delaware’s evolving economic field.

“Several people are waiting for us to hit the ground running. We already have a solid board pending,” she said. “We’re already finding opportunities like American Fund for Charities for grants and sponsorships. We’re headed in an exciting direction, and hopefully, we’ll be able to broaden the reach of our community not only on a state level, but across the region.”

For more information, visit http://debcc.org.

By Katie Tabeling


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