Access to capital and technical assistance are key to helping small businesses and local economies in distress, Chicago’s Mayor Lori LeichtfußLori Lightfoot Simple truths don’t matter to the woken up people who are now ruling America (D) said Tuesday.
“Our small and micro businesses are really suffering, they are suffering,” said Lightfoot at an event hosted by The Hill entitled “Understanding the Venture Economy: America’s Hidden Resistance Factor. “
Mayor of Chicago @LoriLightfoot Regarding the effects of COVID-19 on the local economy: “Our small and micro businesses are suffering a lot. They suffer.” #TheHillVentures https://t.co/SHBrTDlfmF pic.twitter.com/YFiQRIdrh7
– The Hill Events (@TheHillEvents) September 15, 2020
Lightfoot told Steve Clemons, of The Hill, that employers’ needs helped spur Chicago’s $ 100 million small business loan fund to target “small and micro businesses, especially those unable to raise the federal dollars Benefit ”, and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans distributed earlier this year.
The PPP was created by a March coronavirus relief bill to provide loans to troubled small businesses that could be fully lent if used for payroll, rent, and other essential expenses. The program has approved loans of more than $ 525 billion to more than 5.2 million companies with fewer than 500 employees.
House Democrats published a study On Tuesday, more than $ 3 billion in loans were identified that may have gone to companies that were already receiving assistance or should have been banned from the program.
Lightfoot said other loan programs are inaccessible to small businesses because they require high thresholds for funding. Washington policymakers, she said, “need to listen to mayors” in order to adequately support the local economy.
“We want to shape federal politics because we know what’s going on in our cities,” added Lightfoot at the GoDaddy-sponsored event. “For me, having a mayor with a seat at the table in federal politics is one of the surest ways to ensure that these companies are not ignored.”
At the local level, the Chicago business administration division now hosts weekly seminars aimed at helping budding small business owners get their ideas off the ground, according to Lightfoot. The “how-to webinars” contain advice on how to write a business plan or how to become a digital company.
“We made sure that our small business centers really focus on providing technical support during the application phase and throughout the application period,” said Lightfoot. “We will spend less on the front end if we invest in human capital and people’s lives now than we will on the back end to fix problems.”