It’s no secret that small businesses are suffering because of the pandemic restrictions.
Lockdowns and quarantines aren’t exactly helpful to Main Street businesses as they try to survive and thrive.
When you take the normal challenges of business which are already huge and add in severe national restrictions and economic depression it’s like trying to jog with thirty pound weights on your ankles.
Now the Biden Administration has confirmed Isabella Casillas Guzman as the new administrator of the US Small Business Association (SBA) and she says help is on the way.
What exactly is her plan?
Guzman: We Will be ‘Finding a Path Forward for Small Businesses’
Guzman said she’s going to be revamping the SBA to help it respond to today’s significant challenges and help out small businesses who are getting crushed by COVID.
There’s still reason for a lot of skepticism, but at least Guzman appears to be proactive on this and actively looking for solutions and improvements to the SBA system. Despite the wastefulness of Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill, it did contain some help for small businesses and Guzman will be making use of that to try to succeed in her new role.
She will be implementing the various pro-small business parts of Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill as soon as possible, since she says “many more are at risk.” This includes $10 billion supporting lending to small businesses and $100 million for a new program that will give free consultation and advice to businesses.
An estimated 400,000 small businesses have already shut their doors since the start of the pandemic according to Guzman.
But the relief bill provisions along with rising rates of vaccination and the stimulus checks that recently went out to most Americans will boost consumer spending as well and start to get life closer to back to normal for most Americans, Guzman says.
#ICYMI: Isabella Casillas Guzman has been sworn in as SBA's 27th Administrator! @SBAIsabel will implement critical financial relief for small businesses impacted by the pandemic and additional #smallbiz support recently passed in the #AmericanRescuePlan.
Learn more: ⬇️
— SBA (@SBAgov) March 19, 2021
More Help for Small Businesses
There is more help for small businesses in the relief bill as well, including increased funding for the Paycheck Protection Program and over $28 billion in special assistance to restaurants who suffered due to the closure of indoor dining and other COVID restrictions.
Guzman should be an effective head since she already worked as deputy chief of staff at the SBA under Obama and knows how it works, although it’s certainly fair to raise questions since small business didn’t exactly flourish under Obama and it took President Trump to come along to truly revive business and get the money flowing.
Still, Guzman is confident.
“We’ll be looking at our overall programs to see a path forward for small businesses. We just need to ensure that we’ve modernized the SBA,” she said.
A Changing Role for the SBA
According to its website, “the SBA connects entrepreneurs with lenders and funding to help them plan, start and grow their business.”
Guzman says that the role is changing and that the importance of the SBA has come into the spotlight because of the particularly bad suffering of small businesses under COVID rules.
The SBA’s PPP program has been quite successful and handed out around 8 million loans worth over $700 billion in order to help keep small businesses afloat and having a chance to prosper.
Guzman said the 7(a) and 504 lending programs might be changed up, and technology and systems will also be upgraded so that it gets easier and faster for businesses to get the help they need and provide feedback about what changes need to take place.
“That will provide us with a strong feedback loop from small businesses about what their needs are,” she said.
Just a guess, but I think the biggest need of small businesses right is customers.