Last week, the US Small Business Administration (SBA) reported that it had disbursed just $ 300 billion in CVD-19 repayment loans to nearly 4 million businesses. A.D. In the spring of 2020, one of the smallest federal agencies in the United States found itself in the midst of a major economic crisis in one generation, and it was a lifeline to explore the potential for many Americans to make money.

As in other parts of the country, however, life at the SBA is slowly returning to normal. Preparing to launch new programs.

Meanwhile, the busiest months of the year have arrived, and for many it has been a lucrative season. SBA argues that this special holiday season is important, and urges Americans to think more than Amazon – to move back and trade locally – promoting events such as Small Business Saturday, a trade holiday between Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday, created by US Express. To encourage people to take control of local brick and mortar stores.

Earlier this week, SAB’s Isabella Guzman, led by President Biden, called on the agency to start the campaign in mid-March. Fast Company She seems to be playing her part in a post-apocalyptic SBA in Washington, D.C.

Fast company; Big companies are reporting record earnings this year, but this is a time for small businesses struggling to make a comeback. You have met with small business owners nationwide in recent months. What are the biggest challenges you still face?

Isabella Guzman: Well, of course all the time Capital. The relief provided by the federal government was crucial to alleviating the declining revenue or supply chain or the shortage of manpower. They certainly needed that extra support to get through this. And in many cases, they had to change and modify their models, such as the use of digital technology to improve operations or attract more customers. These are just a few of the challenges businesses face, and that is on the board.

All of this is supported by CVD, which is why it is important to make sure vaccines are added. That’s why small business is exciting this Saturday, because more people are getting more vaccinated and more confident than ever before. We hope that people will be able to get out and experience mother-and-pop shopping on the main street or in their neighborhood.

FC gra All Americans are going to benefit from the administration. Backwards The newer version includes many things that are good for small businesses but also neglects a few things. For example, the SB Flag 7 (a) loan program is said to receive “billions of dollars”, but only $ 950 million. Can you provide a quick scam for key supplies in your current invoice, which can help small business owners?

Guzman First of all, we are really excited about Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal because it supports small businesses on the infrastructure front. They depend on public transportation and our ports and roads. We hope that some of the bottlenecks that have plagued us during this time will be solved by these key investments. And it’s the same with climate, because when natural disasters affect communities, they do affect small businesses in a reasonable way, for sure.

By building a better future, from a broader perspective in the workforce, the investments will be really important, along with the shortage of manpower I mentioned. Getting a skilled workforce is always a challenge for small businesses. In addition, we look forward to providing their staff with affordable child care, health care and nursing care, which will go a long way in bringing people back to the workforce.

But there are also significant investments that can be made to provide better financial support for small businesses. You mentioned the investments in our 7 (a). The money going to our core 7 (a) program will make a difference to allow SBA to provide direct loans to micro-dollar loans. Other investments will expand our mission-based lenders, which we recognize are institutions that support complex and unpredictable communities. Expansion, sustainability, and financial support will be crucial for those lenders.

The draft proclamation should increase the number of investors participating in our small business companies. Growing Microfinance With a small business portfolio, young managers have come a long way in financing our future businesses.

And we look forward to investing in entrepreneurs and businesses that help small businesses. Especially those who are developing and contracting, because again, the bill will benefit small businesses, but we also know that they will benefit from the terms of the agreement to address climate change and our infrastructure.

FC gra We know that the epidemic is having a devastating effect on economically disadvantaged communities. You have made it a priority to complete unfinished business, and even before you can build it back, you have already introduced new programs to address this gap, right?

Guzman Yes, we have been funded by the US Navigator pilot program to save lives. During Kovid, we saw how quickly small businesses were able to recover from established networks. So this $ 100 million has been distributed to 51 donors across the country to build those relationships. Inputs and Market Relations provided by SBA and other local ecosystems.

FC gra For almost two years, one thing is clear: There are no one-size-fits-all solutions to epidemic problems. Now we are seeing other problems: inflation, labor shortages. How can small business owners know better about their federal resources? I know that SBA controls dozens of different programs for business owners.

Guzman Through our District Offices and our Input Partners, small businesses can connect and build this with the Federal Government Inpatient Team. Starting with and finding local locations in your area is a must.

But on the other hand, consumers can support small businesses. Strategies such as Small Business Saturday help them compete during the busy holiday season. It is designed to help them make a significant contribution to their annual expenses. These additional programs or strategies help SBA teams set up small businesses – you know what your pricing strategy is, and what your inventory looks like and how to navigate supply chains.

They say a significant portion of the business is still struggling, but there is still uncertainty. This holiday season is a great opportunity for many to see if they can remain open next year.

FC gra The Wage Protection Program is known to have suffered fraud and technical problems that have plagued business owners. What lessons did the agency learn from the widespread spread of the epidemic in the past?

Guzman My priority was to make sure that we were running these programs efficiently. Quickly, but surely you will fall into the hands of the businesses that are meant to serve. In all of our programs, we have made process improvements and we have adopted technology to measure and efficiently measure where businesses are located and communicate more efficiently, which is often better suited for mobile and technology.

P.P.P. And we want to make that promise of forgiveness. So we launched a direct apology portal, you know, it can be done in less than six minutes. 60% of the people you are running live through the amnesty portal are on a mobile device.

Another important program to consider is the CVD economic risk loan program, which is still worth billions of dollars this year.

FC gra I was going to mention that. From E.A.D.G. But in September they announced some changes.

Guzman Processing times and people were stuck with the process. Many of them were related to 2020 and some of the challenges they faced in terms of fraud and implementation. But we have seen all those issues. We have reached over 37,000 applications from over 2,000 applications to clear the registry. And now we can handle these loan applications — or increase, because we have raised the maximum loan amount to $ 2 million for business. So, they would only resort to this as a last resort.

It is a well-known fact that billions of dollars are still untapped by the EDP. What is less well known is the imminent deadline for them. Guzman and SBA encourage interested people to complete it by December 10 — and in the meantime buy in small and locally.