Small businesses are the backbone of Nevada’s economy. From the Cosmetology Institute of Las Vegas and Sumnu Marketing to Cereal Killerz Kitchen, Gritz Café and Best Meat Co., our small businesses are as diverse as our communities.
Opening a small business is a courageous move. Even during times of economic prosperity, small business owners must grapple with complicated financial decisions -- from cash flow projections to wages and benefits for workers. With the coronavirus recession, running a small business has become even more difficult.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Nevada’s small businesses have shown tremendous resilience in the face of an unprecedented economic and health crisis. Many of our entrepreneurs have worked day and night trying to figure out how to keep employees on payroll, cover fixed costs, and stay afloat until our economy fully reopens and tourism returns. Sadly, hundreds of our small businesses have been forced to close their doors permanently. Nationwide, data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York shows a disproportionate impact on Black-owned businesses, which were nearly twice as likely to close during the early months of the pandemic.
Thankfully, help is finally here.
In March, I worked with my colleagues in the House and Senate to pass the American Rescue Plan, which was signed into law by President Biden on March 11, 2021. This plan is a comprehensive relief package to crush the coronavirus and begin our path to recovery and includes provisions that are specifically designed for small businesses.
The key funding in the American Rescue Plan for small businesses include:
$15 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, which provides financial support for small businesses in underserved areas, especially those that are minority owned.
$29 billion in grants for restaurants, which have especially struggled during the pandemic. The restaurant funding comes through a new grant program created by the American Rescue Plan.
An additional $1.25 billion for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program, which was created by previous relief packages. Funding for this program was a top priority for me and the other members of Nevada’s delegation to help our theaters, concerts, and other venues that were forced to shut down during the pandemic.
Critically, the American Rescue Plan also authorized $7.25 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which has provided key forgivable loans to help businesses keep workers on payroll and fund other essential expenses during the pandemic. This new funding also expands the eligibility for PPP loans, which can now support more non-profit organizations and digital news services that are providing critical coverage during the pandemic. The Small Business Administration has more information about loans and grants available for small businesses at www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options.
As President Biden has said, passing the American Rescue Plan is only the beginning. In the coming weeks, I will be pushing for the passage of the Keeping the Lights on Act, a bipartisan bill that provides federal support to help small businesses pay their fixed costs, including rent and utilities. If you are a small business owner that needs help with a federal program, or if you want to share your story of running a small business during this pandemic, please reach out to my office by calling (702) 963-9360 or by visiting us on the web at Horsford.House.Gov.
There is no question that Southern Nevada has been one of the hardest-hit parts of the country. As tourism evaporated and our hospitality industry struggled, many of our friends and neighbors have lost their jobs, lost their businesses, or fallen sick themselves. Throughout it all, Nevadans have shown the deep strength and commitment to community that has always defined us. Now, with the passage of the American Rescue Plan, our brightest days are ahead.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Congressman Horsford and his staff are always here for you. His team can be reached by phone at (702) 963-9360 or on the web at http://horsford.house.gov.
NOTE: This article was originally published in the APRIL 2021 EDITION of The Urban Voice | Las Vegas and is reprinted with permission from its publisher. For additional content, please visit http://theurbanvoice.com.