Giving Compass’ Take:
• An article at Brookings delves into Charlotte, N.C.’s strategy for saving small businesses, which accounts for various stages of the coronavirus lockdown.
• Why is saving small businesses essential for all communities’ economies? What can you do to support similar initiatives in your city?
Small businesses are the backbone of communities across the nation, enhancing our neighborhoods and stimulating local economies. Young small businesses—those in operation for fewer than five years—are especially key drivers of the nation’s net job creation and productivity growth. Unfortunately, small businesses have become especially vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic, as they historically have been during major economic downturns.
Open for Business was launched by the city of Charlotte, N.C. in April to support the city’s small businesses throughout the pandemic, the recovery, and beyond. The initiative consists of a two-phase strategy: “Survive” and “Thrive.” The Survive phase centers on several programs that will support small businesses during the pandemic and initial reopening; its efforts aim to establish the Open for Business information-sharing online platform, enlist ecosystem and partner support, provide access to capital, and strengthen workforce readiness. In the Thrive phase, Charlotte will focus on workforce resiliency to address staggering unemployment, as well as business innovation and resiliency to make sure small businesses are prepared for future challenges. Workforce resiliency will focus on reducing unemployment by putting Charlotte residents back to work through skills training and job placements.
In responding to the COVID-19 crisis, Open for Business has recognized the importance of an equitable response to ensure that all small businesses have access to resources. Of the program’s Access to Capital funds, microbusinesses received 93%, Black business owners received 54%, and young businesses between zero and seven years old received 53%. Considering that structural racism has limited the number of small businesses in the U.S. economy and that the youngest businesses drive the nation’s net job creation and productivity growth, supporting the most vulnerable small businesses is imperative in achieving a prosperous recovery, and Charlotte has clearly made it a priority.
Read the full article about saving small businesses at Brookings
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