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Main Street hails further help in Biden’s Covid relief plan as PPP funding sees demand from micro-businesses

As President-elect Joe Biden presents his sweeping $ 1.9 trillion economic plan and response to the pandemic, small business advocates welcome more help for a main street that continues to be hammered home by Covid.

Biden’s US bailout includes $ 15 billion in grants to help hardest-hit businesses and $ 35 billion for small business finance programs.

“A fully reopened economy that is recovering at relative speed will save countless Main Street businesses and jobs, and provide a spark for new entrepreneurs to start new businesses and hire,” said Karen Kerrigan, President and CEO. the leadership of the SBE Council, in a statement. She added that the recovery of small businesses is a critical part of the overall economic rebound.

“Clearly, specific industries and regions of the country have been hit harder than others, and initiatives focused on those sectors and communities will result in a more balanced recovery,” Kerrigan said.

The aid offered by Biden would be in addition to the current paycheck protection program, which reopened this week with both new fraud protections and a focus on serving small businesses that may have lacked. help with program roll-out last year. Community lenders began offering first-time loans on Monday and second-draw PPP loans on Wednesday. The phased opening continues Friday for lenders with less than $ 1 billion in assets. It opens Tuesday for all other lenders.

At Sunrise Banks in St. Paul, Minnesota, demand for help has been high from small businesses since the program opened on Monday. CEO David Reiling praised the Small Business Administration’s decision to let community lenders lead the way in this cycle. The requests for aid received are low but show that micro and individual businesses are in need.

“The vast majority will be sole proprietorships and these loans will be maybe a few thousand dollars. In some cases our low today has been $ 250,” said Reiling.

Beyond helping small businesses, Biden’s proposal includes direct payments of $ 1,400 to individuals, a national immunization strategy, and a federal minimum wage of $ 15 an hour.

Biden’s call to more than double the current federal minimum wage has drawn both criticism and praise. Pew Research has shown that 67% of Americans support raising the wage to $ 15 an hour.

The International Franchise Association said it was excited to see the vaccine strategy and business support, but said the wage hike could be counterproductive.

“Our aim is to ensure that small businesses can continue to provide for their communities and employees. However, the requirement of more than doubling the wages of some workers will hurt struggling businesses and likely slow down the recovery,” said Matt Haller, senior vice president of IFA. government relations and public affairs, in a press release.

Small business confidence plummeted in December as Covid-19 cases rose and Main Street awaits the changing of the guard in Washington The National Federation of Independent Business monthly index fell 5.5 points to 95 , 9. The reading is below the NFIB’s historic 98 average as fewer small businesses expect sales to pick up or the economy to improve over the next six months. Plus, uncertainty persists for small business owners into the new year.

“Concerns about the new administration’s economic policy and the increased spread of Covid-19 leading to further government-mandated business closures have owners pessimistic about future conditions in the first half of 2021,” said chief economist William Dunkelberg.

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