Community leaders create small business support program - City of Round Rock

Community leaders create small business support program - City of Round Rock


Community leaders create small business support program - City of Round Rock

Posted: 25 Mar 2020 12:48 PM PDT

Round Rock Cares full logoRound Rock Cares raised $4,000 from the public within its first 48 hours of going live, and announced an additional $10,000 donation to challenge the community to support local businesses.

Beginning March 27, Nancy and Nyle Maxwell will match dollar for dollar the next $10,000 that the public donates to Round Rock Cares.

Round Rock Mayor Craig Morgan, the Greater Round Rock Community Foundation, the Round Rock Chamber and Dell Technologies announced the new collaboration Wednesday, March 25, to assist local small businesses impacted by the coronavirus. As of Friday morning, 54 local businesses had applied for assistance.

"Our entire community is concerned about what recent COVID19 disruptions to business operations may mean for our local small businesses, and for the families of their employees," Mayor Morgan said. "Many businesses have chosen to suspend operations based on recommendations from the CDC or have been required to close as a result of necessary emergency declarations."  

While the impact of these disruptions is still largely unknown, community institutions have been hard at work responding with innovative ideas to help stabilize small businesses in Round Rock. The City, Community Foundation, Chamber and Dell Technologies have each committed $25,000 to establish the Round Rock Cares fund with $100,000 to support small business in Round Rock and invite the public to make their own personal donations. 

"In these uncertain times, it is imperative that our community comes together. The Greater Round Rock Community Foundation is proud to be part of this effort and have the opportunity to manage the Round Rock Cares Fund," said Nyle Maxwell, Chairman of the Greater Round Rock Community Foundation. "But we can't do it alone – we need the public as a partner too. The citizens of Round Rock joining the business community in this type of collaboration is what makes Round Rock a special place to live." 

Round Rock Cares will be a charitable fund, managed by the Greater Round Rock Community Foundation. Those wishing to contribute to the fund can do so at roundrockcares.org.  

"Supporting our communities is a top priority for us at Dell Technologies, and we are proud to be able to give back right here at home," said Jeremy Ford, Vice President of Giving and Social Innovation at Dell Technologies. "Local and small businesses are an integral part of the city's culture, and we are committed to doing our part to help them and the broader community during this time."  

Round Rock Cares plans to provide financial assistance to small and locally-owned businesses in Round Rock, allocating financial resources as quickly and as directly as possible. The fund will be directed by a committee consisting of representatives of the City, the Chamber and the business community. It is envisioned that Round Rock Cares will provide assistance to businesses for:  

  • Operational loan down payments 
  • Utility payments
  • Payroll for employees still employed and working at the business
  • Lease payments
  • General business operations (raw materials, marketing expenses, etc.)
  • Other business needs as determined by the fund oversight committee 

An application and more information is available online at roundrockcares.org for interested business owners. Fund founders intend resources will be deployed to businesses as quickly as applications can be received and reviewed. 

To qualify for assistance, a business must:  

  1. Have its principal location or business address in Round Rock. This includes areas of Round Rock within Travis County and Round Rock Municipal Utility Districts within the City's extra-territorial jurisdiction. 
  2. Have incurred significant disruptions to operations or ability to remain open.

For more information about Round Rock Cares, visit roundrockcares.org. 

 

 

These steps are crucial to help small businesses survive until the pandemic passes - MarketWatch

Posted: 17 Mar 2020 06:08 AM PDT

Small businesses are the economic engine of the U.S. — and they are about to seize up because of lack of oil. What can we do to help them survive and prosper? Although the Federal Reserve has lowered rates to zero, pumped liquidity into the system, and is engaging in QE (quantitative easing), these initiatives are likely to have little impact on our small businesses and Main Street.

The bigger issue, and bang for the buck, will be a fiscal policy response.

There have been several articles in the popular press that have focused on some useful ideas such as buying restaurant gift certificates, takeout, and using online delivery —but these ideas are not enough. We need to go big or go home. The coronavirus will have long-lasting economic implications — much worse than the Global Financial Crisis — if policy makers don't move quickly to address the immediate needs of these firms.

We learned a lot from the Global Financial Crisis — what worked and what failed. I believe, as do many economists, that fiscal policy is critical at this point. The consumer drives the U.S. economy and is especially critical to local small business.

Breaking news: Follow the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic

What should we do?

Step 1: Help the consumer

The priority for everyone at the federal level and on down to the states and towns, should be to ensure that individuals and small businesses get the assistance they need to get through this crisis.

Give money directly to consumers

First, the government needs to put some money in people's pockets so they can support our small firms. Providing support to the consumer helps local small business. People living on the margins, e.g. low income, gig workers, etc. will be hurt the most. We need to help them first. That means an immediate $500 to every child and $1,000 to every adult.

Also read:Romney, other lawmakers call for sending $1,000 checks to Americans as part of coronavirus response

We are in a recession already. First-quarter GDP numbers might show some growth due to a good first two and a half months, and the shopping burst over the last weekend, but the reality is that we are in a recession and need to act fast.

Make sick leave possible

Second, we also need to consider providing not only low-cost or zero-percent loans, but also possibly grants to small business in the form of government-paid sick leave for their workers. Physical health equals economic health. We need to make sure people who are sick are financially able to stay home!

The current proposal with the Senate includes paid sick leave, with exemptions for employers with greater than 500 and less than 50. That leaves out 80% of all workers, including small businesses and individuals who will be most adversely affected. The Senate needs to move on this bill as a first step, but more will need to be done, otherwise the economic downturn will extend beyond this crisis.

Tax relief

Third, we need to provide immediate tax relief to small firms. This may include things like an extended tax holiday or possibly tax rebates at both the state and federal levels.

Credit loosening

Fourth, almost as important as willingness to lend going forward, banks need to work with their borrowers to extend loan maturities and grant temporary relief. The Small Business Administration can play a critical role is subsidizing credit, and I am certain that they will roll out "Corona-Express" types of loans quickly.

It's important to emphasize, however, encouraging lending will only be effective if the consumer can spend.

Shop local

Finally, we all need to support these businesses. Shop and do business locally. To be realistic, we probably won't have much choice. Let's not bail out Wall Street. We should focus on consumers and small business to increase the odds of successfully emerging from this crisis.

The ongoing vitality of local small business is critical to the success of the U.S. economy. Budget deficits don't matter right now. Money is cheap. The consumer will be the key to small-business survival and policy makers need to act accordingly. Let's hope they have the will power to do it.

Peter Nigro, Ph.D., is a professor of finance at Bryant University. He previously served as an economist with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in Washington, which regulates all national banks. He is an expert on the Federal Reserve, monetary and fiscal policy, financial saving, credit risk, and fair lending issues.

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