The backbone of the economy
Small businesses are a staple in local communities because they play a role in recycling money between business owners and customers. Creating this dynamic between suppliers and consumers guarantees success for both parties involved. But once the pandemic happened, small businesses closed for various reasons, and most have stayed closed.
"This is what generates a lot of wealth in our country. It makes us different from other countries and that we have a lot of entrepreneurs who build businesses and build wealth and support their families,” said Charles Phillips, chairman of the board of Infor, the third largest business software applications company, said as he talked about the importance of small business for the United States economy. "Entrepreneurs need capital. It's not a mystery, and that's also why small businesses have stayed closed after the initial COVID-19 shutdown."
The Small Business Administration notes there are over 33.2 million small businesses in the US, making up 99.9% of all businesses. Small businesses employ almost half of the US workforce and add 44% to its GDP. Immigrants have started up more than 18% of small businesses in the US. The COVID-19 pandemic caused more than 1/3 of US businesses to close down permanently while others struggled to survive.
"We have started the LIFT program that targets minority-owned businesses for funding and capital gain,” Virginia Sen. Mark Warner said as he talked about how he plans on helping small businesses get back to being an important part of their community and government. "We all know in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd, there were lots of companies that promised they were donating to Black businesses. If you put it all together, rough estimates were 300 billion dollars of promises made by corporate America. But in reality, about 5 billion is all that has been paid out in terms of real investment."
Warner continued by stating with the help of Deputy Secretary Wally Onyamo and Republican Mike Crapo, they have formed the Economic Opportunity Coalition.
"We want to make it easy for those companies to put their money where their mouth is and be able to leverage it because candidly, some of the programs, if they simply take on one small school or one small neighborhood, they may be able to pound their chest and say what they're doing well," Warner said as he pointed out the importance of minority-owned banks and CDFIs.
Huntington’s Lift Local Business program supports minority, woman, and veteran-owned small businesses throughout the business life cycle from start-up to expansion. Through SBA teams, the program offers loans, business planning support, free financial entrepreneurial courses delivered through Operation HOPE, and other services to help small business owners achieve their goals.