Welcome to the Small Business Rundown. Each day, we bring you stories that impact small business owners and their workforce.
Small Business News Highlights for May 5:
- Two New Englanders charged in Paycheck Protection Program fraud
- Politicians clash over liability protection for reopening businesses
- Latino small business owners find ways to stay open during pandemic closures
2 men charged in PPP fraud
“It is unconscionable that anyone would attempt to steal from a program intended to help hard working Americans continue to be paid so they can feed their families and pay some of their bills.”
The Fed has made good on its promise to go after anyone who fraudulently obtains money from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Two men from New England were charged today with conspiring to make false statements to influence the Small Business Administration and conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
The men, one from Rhode Island and one from Massachusetts, applied for hundreds of thousands of dollars in PPP funds under the guise of having dozens employees at 4 different businesses. However, investigators found that none of the businesses were even open prior to the COVID-19 pandemic forcing closures.
Law enforcement officials indicate that they have similar leads across the country.
Democrats and Republicans at odds over next steps
“It seems intuitive to me that if you’re a marginal small business and you’re making the decision whether to hang in there and try to survive, or whether you’re just going to give up and either declare bankruptcy or just become insolvent, that this would around the margins, this could make the difference.”
As small business owners continue to grapple with reopening, Senate and House leaders are advancing their own priorities. Senate Republicans are currently working on legislation that would protect small business owners from liability related to customers contracting COVID-19 in their establishments, while House Democrats are pushing for legislation to help state and local governments.
Women, People of Color hit the hardest during COVID-19
“As Hispanics, our currency is a little more resilient and we’re more culturally open to dealing with crises. We keep the motor running until we can drive again.”
As women and people of color are hit disproportionately hard by job losses in hard-hit industries, Latino small business owners are drawing on their cultural value of resilience to find ways to stay afloat during forced closures.
Typically, minority SBOs face larger hurdles to accessing funding, so much so that the latest round of legislation to support the PPP provided specific directives to fund smaller lenders who serve urban and minority SBOs. Without money from the federal government, Latino SBOs are getting creative.