WASHINGTON — If Jeannine Cook had waited another month to open her bookstore, it probably wouldn’t exist.
Cook, the owner of Harriet’s Bookshop in Philadelphia, opened her doors in February. A month later, the pandemic hit and the questions came. “Is this life telling me like stop this stupid idea? Or is this life telling me I need to figure out how to go harder?” she remembered asking herself. “I knew, as an entrepreneur, that was a part of it. I just didn’t know to this extent.”
Women and minority-owned businesses were on the rise prior to the pandemic— and Black women were starting businesses at a quicker clip than anyone else. From 2014 to 2019, the number of women-owned businesses grew 21 percent while firms owned by women of color grew at double that rate, according to an annual report on women in business by American Express.