TAMPA, Fla. — We're reaching nearly a year of hardships for small business owners, and even more so for black entrepreneurs. Combine that with economic inequity and you get more barriers for these small business owners to overcome. 

"We saw nationally 41 percent, and I’ll repeat that 41 percent of black businesses have gone out of business and we don’t know if or when how many of those will be able to reopen," said Tanisha Gary, President of African American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida. "Even prior to 2020, black owned businesses really lacked access to capital and other things that were afforded to other small businesses and so as a result of that our business were hit harder."

The African-American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida is working with Florida Technical College to create a new "business opportunity scholarship."

"These are exact areas that some of these small businesses can use to help them get ahead and get that necessary education," FTC President Dr. James Michael Burkett said. 

It's one way to foster progress and equity in our communities. 

"They tend to hire within their own community and give back within their own community and so when those businesses are missing then the community is missing a huge part of what helps the community grow and thrive," Gary said. 

The deadline to apply is Sunday and the winner will be announced next month.