March 10, 2021
Boston immigrant-owned businesses reflect loss amid COVID-19, policy makers provide fundings (Daily Free Press) – The now year-long battle against COVID-19 forces individuals, institutions and businesses alike to wrestle economic burdens, and immigrant owned-businesses have faced disproportionate difficulties. In Massachusetts, one in five members of the labor force are foreign-born, according to the American Immigration Council.
Vishal Thapar — co-founder of Boston Chai Party, a Dorchester company that sells freshly ground chai masala and fair trade black tea leaves — said the business lost its largest client and about 55 percent of their revenue at the start of the pandemic. From April to June of last year, the company did not receive any orders. Boston Chai Party applied for a $2,500 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration, he said, which “immensely” helped them afford rent for the kitchen and facilities. But if he hadn’t had the support of his full-time job, he said he’d be in a very different position.
Natalia Urtubey, the director of small business at Boston’s Office of Economic Development, said small businesses globally have been “deeply impacted by COVID-19.” She added that Boston is well-positioned in having a “robust immigrant advancement team.” She said the Mayor’s Office has worked to offer interpretation services and workshops, as well as ensure there is equal access to funding and programs.
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