by Paula Anderson
As entrepreneurs and small business owners focus on how to pay expenses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Entrepreneurial advocates and Black Business Chambers are working to find solutions to help black business owners deal with the healthcare and economic crises affecting America.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) announced funding for small business owners in March through the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act (CARES Act) in early March. An executive order was signed on March 18 to address the spread and response to COVID-19.
Social distancing was one of the measures taken to contain and help our healthcare system respond. As U.S. states received social distancing guidelines, only essential businesses were allowed to remain open to provide food, access to mail and other services. These guidelines have left some business owners with limited to zero revenue to sustain their business models.
The CARES Act initial funding of $350 billion dollars earmarked to help small businesses was depleted within a short window of time. Applications were submitted through a lending institution for consideration.
Attorney Ashley Bell, regional administrator for the SBA said, “The initial funding round had a 7-day delay for sole proprietors and independent contractors to apply and this affected business owners disproportionately when it came to receiving funding.”
The delay impacted businesses because 90 percent of black businesses are sole proprietors and don’t have employees according to Bell.
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was implemented to cover expenses such as payroll, rent, mortgage interest and utilities according to the SBA website for businesses.
On April 16, The National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) hosted a Call to Action Meeting regarding the distribution of the funds to black business owners.
According to a press release, Larry Ivory, chairman of the NBCC and President of the Illinois State Black Chamber of Commerce said, “We have come too far to let this set-back stop our momentum. President Trump needs to step in.”
"The second round of funding will address the allocation concerns expressed and more financial resources will be placed in Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) to help sole proprietors and independent contractors," added Bell.
To learn more about lending opportunities, contact a local Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) in the Memphis area.
Paula Anderson is a freelance journalist with Writing by Design Media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.