Study of COVID-19 Impacts on Latina-Owned Businesses in the Inland Empire

Study of COVID-19 Impacts on Latina-Owned Businesses in the Inland Empire Identifies Challenges and Opportunities Created by Pandemic Disruptions

The National Latina Business Women Association of the Inland Empire and the

UC Riverside School of Public Policy partnered on the first-of-its-kind study


SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (August 24, 2021):  A study on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on fast-growing Latina-owned businesses (LaOB) in the Inland Empire found that a lack of access to information, low proficiency in technology, severe health conditions, family needs, and customer challenges—prior to the pandemic—all impacted how well these business owners could react to and recover from COVID-19 disruptions. Yet, the study found opportunities to help Latina business to recover.

The study, “Impacts of Covid-19 on Latina Businesses in Inland Southern California,” was commissioned by the National Latina Business Women Association of the Inland Empire (NLBWA-IE) and conducted by the UC Riverside’s School of Public Policy. The study addresses the challenges, experiences and solutions that LaOB used to survive, pivot and lead their businesses during the pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbated their long-term challenges and impacted their capabilities to recover, sustain, and thrive,” said Dr. Qingfang Wang, UCR researcher and Professor of Public Policy, referring to LaOB. “Study findings also create an opportunity for Latina-owned businesses to reach out to policymakers, build community collaborations, and partner with public and private sectors to help grow their enterprises.” 

Latina businesses are one of the fastest growing sectors of small businesses in the United States. To better understand the needs of its members and to develop more effective programs, NLBWA- IE has commissioned a series of studies on Latina-owned businesses in the Inland Empire. This study is the second of five. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a particularly significant impact on minority owned small businesses, including Latina business locally and across the country,” said Ruth Lopez Novodor, NLBWA-IE president and CEO of On Cue Consulting Inc. “One of the best things that we can do is provide our members with the critical source information, resources and tools that they need to not only survive but flourish in the current business environment.” 

Dr. Wang findings and recommendations are based on in-depth Interviews with more than 100 NLBWA-IE members and community stakeholders. 

Study recommendations made to small businesses, government agencies and community support organizations include:

  • The need for continuous investments in technology, continuing education, and social network building for small businesses to access money, market, and knowledge of management 

  • Particular outreach should target traditionally under-served communities, and should include collaboration and partnership between government, nonprofit organizations, universities, and other community stakeholders 

  • The region also needs to diversify its economic base, continue to invest in education, promote higher-paid job opportunities, and attract more big corporations who are willing to work with small businesses and foster a stronger small business ecosystem

View below or download to review the entire study, which is available to researchers, policymakers, business leaders, and community members interested in Latina economic development.

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The National Latina Business Women Association Inland Empire Institute (NLBWA-IE) is a regional 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization with the purpose of strengthening the success of Latina Entrepreneurs in the Inland Southern California region by educating, promoting, developing, and supporting the rapid growth of Latina business owners and professionals.

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