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Witnesses Discuss Modernization, Reducing Barriers as Elements of Small Business Recovery

Washington, July 15, 2020 | comments
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WASHINGTON– Today, the House Committee on Small Business heard from small business owners and experts on small business recovery during and following the COVID-19 pandemic.

“…One of the consequences of this global pandemic is that our Main Streets are in very real danger of long-lasting damage, or in the worst cases, permanent closure. …We must be proactive and efficient in our attempts to not only sustain but recover and expand the influence of America’s small businesses on Main Streets across the country,”said Ranking Member Steve Chabot (R-OH).“As communities reopen, we hope to find solutions that lead to fewer headlines indicating small businesses are closing and focus more on the recovery on which we are about to embark.”

Safety Measures, Access to “Patient” Capital Remain Key Issues for Small Businesses

“I have just one core message that I’d like to share with you today: the best way to help small business owners thrive in this uncertain world is to help them think and act like startups,”said Mr. Pete Blackshaw, CEO, Cintrifuse, in Cincinnati, OH. “I truly believe there’s little distinction between a tech startup and a mom and pop small business. They are both based on an idea, a problem that needs to be solved, an entrepreneurial spirit, and the desire to take a shot and carve your own path. Whether we’re talking about scalable technology or small-town service, we’re talking about the same thing: businesses built on the ingenuity, passion and persistence of people who simply want to make our country better by finding a better way. That’s American entrepreneurialism.”

“Modifying existing programs is much faster, cheaper, and more effective than the alternatives. The proven SBIC program should be tailored to meet both preexisting and new needs,”said Mr. Brett Palmer, President, Small Business Investor Alliance, in Washington, DC. “The PPP was a lifesaver and it was a brilliant program … but certainly there were some problems with it because it was written at the front end of an economic tornado hitting. Now you have the time to really look at it and make sure things are effective and not duplicative and that they’re really adjusting to the different industry sectors and geographies that need different types of capital.”

“Outdoor dining has forced us to dramatically alter our menu and processes for serving customers. A number of our dishes are not conducive to heat, rain, or wind. …When the pandemic hit, I laid off all 35 employees at Dirt Candy. About six weeks ago, I rehired one person to help get the restaurant ready to re-open in its current form. As of today, I have rehired only 17%, or six, of my employees and don’t plan to hire others for the foreseeable future,”said Ms. Amanda Cohen, Chef and Owner, Dirt Candy, in New York, NY. Ms. Cohen testified on behalf of the Independent Restaurant Association. “This was only possible because of PPP. In fact, the changes to the effective date of PPP this Committee worked on and went into effect in June is the only reason I could afford to reopen Dirt Candy at all.”

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