COLUMBUS— State Rep. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington), joined by several House Democrats,yesterday led a Micro and Small Business Roundtable via Facebook Live. The roundtable served as a listening forum for micro and small businesses, particularly those owned by women and minorities, to share problems resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as highlight gaps in the resources provided by federal, state and local governments. Microbusinesses are defined by the state as those with 20 or fewer employees and account for 97 percent of all Ohio businesses.
“Our micro and small businesses are a critical component of our communities and the life blood of our economy,” said Rep. Russo. “We cannot move forward without them. It is important to hear from a diverse group of micro small businesses and get a better sense for their recovery needs. Only by listening to and prioritizing the needs of all our small businesses can Ohioans get back to work in a safe and responsible manner.”
During the roundtable discussion, several concerns were brought forth, such as:
- Significant issues regarding the distribution of funds by the federal SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Disaster Relief Loans;
- Lack of microbusiness prioritization by banks;
- Poor communication of recovery resource information, particularly in economically disadvantaged communities;
- Importance of small dollar technology and recovery grants;
- Needed flexibility on how funds received may be used;
- Lack of clear safety guidance for reopening;
- Supply chain concerns in obtaining disinfectant and personal protective equipment (PPE).
A number of public and private entities participated in the Micro and Small Business Roundtable, including State Representatives Kristin Boggs (D- Columbus), Tavia Galonski (D- Akron), Terrence Upchurch (D- Cleveland), Jeff Crossman (D- Parma), and Jessica Miranda (D- Forest Park); U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown’s office; U.S. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty’s office; JobsOhio; US Small Business Administration; Ohio Banker’s League; Ohio Credit Union League; Columbus Women’s Commission; and several small business owners and groups.
A recording of the roundtable discussion can be found here.