Small businesses represent 99 percent of all businesses across the nation and half of all private-sector employment.[i] Local small businesses recirculate dollars back into local economies, contribute to county tax revenue and represent a vital component of community identity. Simply put, small business is the lifeblood of county economies across the nation. The COVID-19 outbreak and ensuing social distance and business restrictions have put the small business community in a dire situation.
Counties across the country have acted swiftly and creatively to support small businesses with needed cashflow and practical guidance.
County Small Business Relief & Stabilization Funds
Social distance practices and business restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in widespread revenue and job loss affecting small businesses. To provide these businesses with immediate cashflow relief through this pandemic, counties across the nation have created loan and grant fund programs to quickly disperse emergency relief dollars to stabilize local business and support essential operational costs such as rent, utilities and payroll. To date, counties have seeded over $140 Million in loan and grant funds, while leveraging additional partner funds for a total of over $160 Million to support small business.
Local Business Promotion and Resource Clearinghouse
In addition to seeding local loan funds, counties are launching creative promotional initiatives to rally communities and drive expenditures to local business. County governments and staff are also serving as one-stop, comprehensive information and resource-sharing clearinghouses. Providing technical assistance and guidance through webpages, newsletters, and webinars, counties are able to educate small business owners and assist in applying for federal, state, and philanthropic resource opportunities.
COVID-19 has had a devasting impact on the small businesses, as millions of businesses find themselves at risk of permanent closure and millions of Americans face unemployment.[ii] Counties are answering the call to directly assist their local business community and rally residents in support of these staples of county economies and community identity.
[i] United States Small Business Administration (SBA). https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/advocacy/2018-Small-Business-Profiles-US.pdf
[ii] The Impact of COVID-19 on Small Businesses. The National Main Street Center. https://www.mainstreet.org/blogs/national-main-street-center/2020/04/09/new-report-the-impact-of-covid-19-on-small-busines