On Thursday, June 10, as part of the “Vaccine Month of Action,” The White House, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and Public Private Strategies Institute hosted a briefing for small business leaders on COVID-19 recovery as part of their recently announced “Getting Back on Track: Help is Here” webinar series.

Over a thousand participants joined the briefing featuring SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman and Dr. Bechara Choucair, White House COVID-19 Vaccinations Coordinator.

Administrator Guzman and Dr. Choucair discussed the importance of vaccinations and provided updates on COVID-19 economic aid programs, such as the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL), Targeted EIDL Advance, and Supplemental Targeted Advance.

Administrator Guzman reaffirmed her optimism and support for small business owners as they begin to resume in-person activities: “Small businesses are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel as marketplaces, and Main Streets start to reopen, as vaccination rates increase. We are empowering small businesses to reopen fully and safely by connecting them with helpful resources and tools, including the Biden-Harris Administration’s tax credits that cover paid time-off for employees getting vaccinated. We all must double down on our efforts to help our nation’s small businesses survive and get our economy back on track.”

Dr. Choucair expressed optimism about the efforts from the community to get all Americans vaccinated: “More than 95 mayors across the country are competing to boost vaccination rates in their cities. More than 580 colleges and universities are taking the pledge to vaccinate as many of their students, staff, and communities as possible. And many businesses are stepping up and offering incentives.”

Rhett Buttle, Public Private Strategies Institute President, described the importance of engaging with small business owners and helping them during these times: “This special event is designed because we know small businesses are leaders in their communities. We know they can play an important role in getting their families, employees, and communities vaccinated.”

The event featured a roundtable with national small business organization leaders pledging to help small business owners become vaccine leaders in their communities and locate economic aid to recover from the pandemic. Remarks and commitments were provided from the following organizations:

Ron Busby, CEO, US Black Chambers, Inc.
Ron Busby, CEO, US Black Chambers, Inc., discussed the impact companies have had on the vaccination rate for the Black community: “The ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft provide free rides to and from vaccination sites for Black business owners and their employees. Other partnerships include: CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens, and Reimagine Main Street, to name a few.”

Tammy Halevy, Lead, Reimagine Main Street
Tammy Halevy, Lead, Reimagine Main Street, shared results from a National Reimagine Main Street Survey taken earlier this year: “In a nutshell, we found that the majority of small business owners across race and ethnicity think vaccines are critical to getting back to business and their workers are turning to them with questions. Business owners told us they wanted information from trusted sources and were willing to take a range of actions.”

Chiling Tong, President and CEO of National ACE
Chiling Tong, President and CEO of National ACE, talked about the efforts of the AAPI business community to get vaccinated: “An overwhelming number of AAPI business owners see the importance of the vaccine to fully reopen. A recent survey found that 90% of AAPI small employers plan to take the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available, and 80% say that it is very important for employees to get vaccinated. In addition, 78% say they are very likely to encourage their workers to get vaccinated. Another study by APM Research Lab has found that AAPIs are getting vaccinated at high rates, with 54.6% of AAPIs vaccinated as of May 2021.”

Ramiro Cavazos, President and CEO of The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Ramiro Cavazos, President and CEO of The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, talked about the impact the USHCC has been able to make with their assistance programs: “The USHCC, through our technical assistance programs, and congressional advocacy has been able to help more than 14,000 businesses access Personal Protective Equipment, Government relief capital, capacity building, and necessary technical assistance so that small minority-owned businesses can revitalize and reopen to rebuild the American economy.”

Sabrina Kent, Senior Vice President of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce
Sabrina Kent, Senior Vice President of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, praised the NGLCC’s resources during the pandemic: “We have also been able to utilize technology to spread vaccination, office safety, and remote work guidelines and protocols. Despite the challenges of the last 15 months, many of our business stakeholders thrived by taking advantage of NGLCC’s wide network of connections and virtual programmings, like online matchmakers, mentorship calls, and more.”

Participants also benefited from an in-depth question and answer session with Alejandro Contreras, a subject matter expert from the SBA Office of Disaster Assistance that implements EIDL and grant programs known as Targeted EIDL Advance, and Supplemental Targeted Advance. SBA recommends applicants, interested parties, and qualified entities check these additional resources:

Cosponsorship Authorization # 21-0501-14: The SBA’s participation in this cosponsored activity is not an endorsement of the views, opinions, products, or services of any cosponsor or other person or entity. All SBA programs and services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis.

Article Courtesy of the SBA