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Webinar explores the impact of COVID on small businesses

To shed light on the ways COVID-19 has impacted the small business landscape in the U.S. and to better understand what recovery for these businesses will look like, Consumer Action hosted a webinar: “From Relief to Recovery: COVID-19 and the Impact on Small Businesses.”
Published: Thursday, May 05, 2022

By Linda Williams

To shed light on the ways COVID-19 has impacted the small business landscape in the U.S. and to better understand what recovery for these businesses will look like, Consumer Action hosted a webinar: “From Relief to Recovery: COVID-19 and the Impact on Small Businesses.” Joining Consumer Action’s outreach team were Rhett Buttle, the founder of Public Private Strategies and senior fellow at the Aspen Institute; Dr. Janelle Williams, a senior adviser on the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s community and economic development team; and Mary Hirt, a research analyst also with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

After the hosts broke the ice with a short true-and-false quiz (which included the true statement that 80% of small businesses reported pandemic-related challenges that impacted their finances), Buttle opened his presentation by explaining that, while there are signs across the country that customers are returning, there are gaps in understanding what small business owners are experiencing and whether the emerging recovery will be evenly distributed. Referencing a recent survey, Buttle summarized that addressing the demand for small dollar financing and the bias and barriers to capital for entrepreneurs of color will be imperative for enabling recovery.

The Federal Reserve Banking system, in collaboration with business and civic organizations in communities across the United States, created the Small Business Credit Survey in 2021. Dr. Williams and Hirt both contributed to the creation of the report. They provided the audience with background on the methodology, and highlighted key findings, including that the pandemic continues to have a significant impact on small businesses, with 57% of them reporting being in fair or poor financial condition at this stage of the pandemic.

Although most small business owners are optimistic about recovery, they are not out of the woods, and recovery will not be equal.

You can watch this and other Consumer Action webinars on our YouTube channel. Find additional COVID-related webinars (and other materials) at our COVID-19 Educational Project webpage.

 

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