By: Nihaal Konda
ProjLocal worked with CAMEO (the California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity) to advocate for policy solutions for small businesses.
ProjLocal got in contact with Addison Peterson, Policy Specialist for CAMEO and former Delegate for the Democratic National Committee and California Democratic Party. The team presented policy solutions we thought were necessary based on experiences with clients and research into past policies. Our proposed solutions included greater lending capability for the SBA (Small Business Administration) and loan guarantees, direct funding and technical assistance like that of the Revitalizing Small and Local Businesses Act, and changing small businesses' expense dates to soften the blow from COVID-19. Mr. Peterson agreed with these potential solutions and focused on our suggestion to change the loan process for small businesses. He explained how the SBA currently allows banks to hand out loans if they like a small business. However, banks usually do not give large loans because the government does not pay a large majority of the loan costs. Because small business owners are sometimes racked up with debt, they pay off loans later than agreed upon; the government should be adjusting loan repayment dates or paying off loan costs rather than continuing with the current system. On top of that, Mr. Peterson described how this is a double standard. It can take years for small businesses to receive a loan even though they are expected to pay off loans by the exact date. It's time we change the system.
What Needs to Change
Many small business owners do not recognize the need to focus on addressing policy. Others see it as pointless to try government advocacy because big corporations spend more money on lobbyists to get their way. Owners must come together and realize that the only way they can continue receiving loans and government assistance is to advocate for it. As Mr. Peterson elaborates, we should look to people like California Assemblymember Chris Holden who brought multiple small business owners together to challenge corporate interests and helped pass AB 525 to secure small business investment.
If you are a small business owner: After our conversation with CAMEO, ProjLocal created a survey for small businesses and nonprofits to detail what they are looking for from the government. Click here to fill it out.
How can YOU help? Talk to small business owners in community about their struggles and how the government could assist them. Contact your Representative and Senators detailing what you think they should do to support small businesses. To find your members in the US Congress, click here.