Many of Southern California’s business owners are struggling to keep their doors open as they navigate the changing COVID-19 rules and regulations. As shops began to reopen recently, after being closed from about mid-March, many owners found themselves shutting down once again as cases across the region begin to spike again.
Tunua Thrash-Ntuk, executive director of Los Angeles Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC LA), tells Inside the Issues many small business owners are finding themselves without a social safety-net to turn to. Many of these businesses are operated by the business owner and don’t have any employees.
“While they qualify for the PPP program, many really didn't see very much revenue from that and they really didn't qualify for enough in resources to really sustain themselves,” Thrash-Ntuk said.
LISC LA helps businesses who are often underserved by traditional banking institutions.
“Oftentimes that's diverse-owned businesses and women-owned businesses,” she said. “What we're hearing from them, and what we heard from them during the period that the PPP was open, was that they didn't have a banking relationship and so they weren't able to access that capital. They weren’t able to access that support. And then some of them, again, because they're so small, the amount of support that they can access based on the way that our national policies had been written, gave them very little in resources and in some cases nothing at all.”
LISC LA will be partnering with institutions like the County and City of Los Angeles, banks, and other organizations to provide grants for small businesses who are in need.
“Small businesses whose revenue is less than a million dollars have a chance to apply for a grant at either $5,000 or $15,000,” Thrash-Ntuk said.
In talking with health professionals, Thrash-Ntuk expects the ups and downs to continue in cycles for the time being.
“Businesses have to think about what kind of pivot and what's going to be the best direction for them right now,” she said.
This could be investing in an online platform to adjust for upcoming changes to dine-in rules.
“We're definitely encouraging businesses to think quickly about what that pivot needs to be and what can they invest in right now that'll give them the most long-term support for being able to continue their revenue streams even if they're not able to continue their business model in the same way that they are right now in terms of bringing people together,” she said.
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