Opinions are the writer’s own and not those of Blavity's.
When my husband and I started our food truck, Spoon-a-Bowl, in 2018, we did not factor a global pandemic into our business plan. We make a significant portion of our sales from working events, so when all of our events for the year were canceled in March 2020, it hit our business hard. We weren’t sure how or if we’d be able to stay open.
My husband Jonathan and I met in college. After we started dating, we often talked about opening a business together. When Jonathan was laid off from his job in 2017, we decided to finally take the leap and pursue our dream. We bought a food truck and started selling frozen yogurt, our favorite delicious and healthy dessert.
Growing up as a Black girl in Los Angeles, I didn’t know any business owners who looked like me. I dreamt of changing that. My husband and I want to set an example for kids growing up in our community. I hope they look at us and think, “Hey, I can do that too!” Operating a food truck allows us to service diverse neighborhoods all across the Las Vegas area and meet people in their communities. Over the years, we’ve talked to many people who, like us, dream of starting their own business. But many simply don’t have the resources to do so.
Starting our business was not easy. We struggled to access capital and had to sell our house to buy the truck. We would love to open a brick-and-mortar store someday, but we currently don’t have the capital to make that happen.
President Biden’s plan for small businesses would expand access to capital for businesses like ours, with a particular focus on helping women-owned and minority-owned small businesses overcome barriers to expansion. Not only would his plan build a nationwide network of community small-business incubators, but it would also invest billions in the Small Business Administration’s loan programs, helping to develop communities that have been racially redlined or ignored by investment programs in the past.
For too long, the United States’ tax code and capital investment programs have favored the interests of big corporations and the wealthy over small businesses. Unlike our business, many top corporations in this country pay $0 in taxes. Small-business investments like the ones President Biden has proposed can easily be paid for if big corporations simply pay their fair share. Under this plan, 97% of small-business owners won’t see their income taxes increase.
Small businesses have always been the key to America’s success. That’s what our nation’s prosperity was built on: working people who dream of building a better life. But to stay competitive with big corporations, small businesses need help.
Congress has a rare opportunity to pass Biden's plan this fall and help put many people's dreams into the realm of possibility by expanding access to capital investments and investing in benefits for employees. President Biden’s plan will give a jumpstart to small businesses that have been hit hard by the pandemic, especially Black-owned businesses like ours.
Ashley Bradley lives with her husband Jonathan in Las Vegas.