The Chamber has been a member of the Save Small Business Coalition and has been actively advocating for COVID relief for all of you for over a year. Our coalition has now joined forces with the Main St Alliance and with the Small Business Majority, both organizations with a mission to support and advocate for small businesses.
We are asking Congress for financial assistance for small businesses without any conditions so that you can use the money the best way you know how to help your own company. Below is our Action Letter. If you, as an individual business owner, would like to also send a letter to your legislators asking them for this, we have attached a link that you can click on which will take you to the coalition’s page. Here you can add your name and you can send letters to our delegation with a simple click. Please take a minute to do this. YOUR voice can be heard. YOUR voice should be heard.
The Critical Need for Unrestricted Grants for America’s Small Businesses
Dear Majority Leader Schumer, Minority Leader McConnell, Speaker Pelosi, and Minority Leader McCarthy:
As representatives of America’s 30 million small businesses, Small Business Majority, Main Street Alliance, and the undersigned organizations, we write today to urge Congress to immediately appropriate funding for flexible, unrestricted grants targeted to the smallest and hardest hit businesses.
Having reached the grim one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down the U.S., small businesses continue to struggle to keep their doors open, particularly women- and minority-owned businesses. While the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) provided a crucial lifeline for many businesses, the programs’ rollout, technical errors, and restrictive loan parameters caused many small businesses—especially newer businesses and under-resourced communities—to fall through the cracks.
Small Business Majority’s recent survey found that of the businesses that applied for PPP, 36% did not receive the full loan amount they requested, including nearly all of the Black self-employed entrepreneurs surveyed. And for those small business owners who did not apply for PPP, more than half (55%) say they did not do so because they were ineligible, or they were told they were ineligible for the program. Small businesses still need assistance. In fact, 40% of small business owners report they will need no-cost grants or zero interest loans this year to keep their business open.
Additionally, a nationwide poll of small business owners from last fall found that 68% of owners agreed that the loans available to small businesses through PPP have been of limited help to many small businesses because the guidelines on how to use them and the time frame for use have been unclear. Moreover, 62% say that the loans available to small businesses to survive during the pandemic are not equally distributed, and it is more difficult for small businesses owned by people of color and women to receive economic assistance.
While many small businesses have applied for the EIDL program and some have received the advance grant, these funds likely did not scratch the surface of what small businesses need to survive the crisis. Only 34% received the full $10,000 available and nearly 1 in 4 received just $1,000, according to a recent survey. For those businesses that received funding, the money most certainly has dried out, and for the businesses that did not receive anything, they are hanging on by a thread.
While recent changes to PPP have expanded access for certain small business borrowers, and grant programs for specific industries such as shuttered venues and restaurants are coming to fruition, many small businesses will still fall through the cracks. With each day that passes, a new batch of small businesses are pushed off a cliff because their year-long cries for grant assistance have been ignored.
That is why we are calling on Congress to provide them with unrestricted funding—because only they can determine how best to utilize the funding to keep their businesses open. This has strong support, with 91% of small businesses saying they want Congress to pass legislation authorizing direct grants. It is critical that you pass a substantive, unrestricted grant program immediately to support small businesses.
Here is the link for you to write to your senators and congressmen. CLICK HERE