Isabel Guzman, administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA), told The 19th in an interview published Thursday that providing immediate federal relief to small companies is “really critical” as these businesses deal with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Immediate relief is really critical. … Their markets have been impacted, and so focusing on providing access to capital, whether it’s relief grants or loans or assistance on the fundraising side, that’s really important,” Guzman said. Guzman, who was confirmed by the Senate for the top post at SBA in mid-March, highlighted the need to link small businesses to the federal marketplace.
“And so making sure that we’re focusing on our contracting programs and connecting small businesses to the federal marketplace and supply chains broadly and connecting them to e-commerce and global trade and beyond is really important. And then, finally, access to networks. I think we need to better leverage and collaborate and cooperate to make sure that our local ecosystems are strong and that small businesses are able to connect to all of these resources,” she added.
The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan allocates funds for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Guzman explained how SBA plans to dole out funds under PPP.
“So really trying to focus on ensuring outreach and connection and that our lending partners, which have been so critical in implementing this program, can help us achieve equity in the distribution of funds,” she said.
“And I know we definitely want to make sure that we also focus on the other side of it, which is the forgiveness part. Obviously small businesses have been through quite a bit so we’re continually working to ensure that there’s a simple and streamlined process for forgiveness to borrowers,” Guzman added.