How faith institutions continue to lift up Dayton’s entrepreneurs during the pandemic

Churches provide support, social capital for entrepreneurs, yet they are missing from the small business survival narrative.


By Malik Keith, Elevate Dayton

Faith institutions play an important role in the lives of entrepreneurs.

Churches and congregations provide entrepreneurs with social capital—informal and formal networking opportunities that are crucial for entrepreneurial success. Entrepreneurs pray several times a week and are more likely to believe in a God who plays an active role in their lives, according to the Harvard Business Review, while other research shows that communities with a large concentration of religious congregations have a correspondingly higher level of small business activity. 

We also know that Black-owned businesses and those owned by women, other people of color and veterans are more likely to employ people of similar backgrounds and identities. Therefore, when these businesses were disproportionately harmed by COVID, so were their employees. Consider, for instance, that 41% of Black-owned businesses were closed during stay-at-home orders, compared to 17% of white-owned businesses. In many cases, churches are where workers and business owners turned for support.




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