Last Thursday, the City of Milpitas hosted a Business Resiliency and Recovery Webinar to support small business owners during the COVID-19 crisis.
With guest speakers present to talk about funding and other resources that might be beneficial to business owners, the webinar offered some valuable information.
Some key takeaways:
– Milpitas’ Economic Development Director Alex Andrade spoke of the work the City has been doing to provide resources to business owners. The Office of Economic Development has been actively engaging the business community by starting a Resource page on the City website, sending out emails to owners, putting out a business survey, and organizing a restaurant promotions campaign (with the Milpitas Chamber of Commerce and Lions Club).
– Last month, an Economic Development Subcommittee was established (consisting of Councilmembers Carmen Montano and Karina Dominguez) to focus on finding solutions to help small business owners weather this challenging time. On Tuesday, April 21, Councilmembers Montano and Dominguez are expected to make a recommendation to the City Council for establishing a small business loan program with approximately $200,000.
– Director of the Silicon Valley Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Dennis King spoke of all the free services that his organization provides to help business owners sustain and grow their businesses. One of their fundamental services is helping business owners get access to capital. However, last week, it was announced that the Small Business Administration (SBA) has reached its $349 billion limit, and that their emergency lending program for small businesses is tapped out.
– King did mention that the Express Bridge Loan program is still currently available. Approval can take as little as 3-4 days. Business owners can go to the SBDC website to learn more about what kinds of other resources they can take advantage of.
– Michael Ocasio, CEO of the Small Business Development Corporation of Orange County, spoke of how their company provides credit guarantees to help small businesses across California get access to capital. More info on his organization is here. Some useful resources are available on the website.
– Facebook was mentioned as a good resource for a business grant. They’re currently investing $100 million into helping small businesses recover. Facebook has opened up the application process to applicants who reside in the San Francisco Bay Area today, on April 20. Learn more here.
– Another great option: Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund; they’re currently providing grants of up to $10k “to businesses facing immediate financial pressure because of COVID-19—especially entrepreneurs of color, women-owned businesses and other enterprises in historically underserved communities who don’t have access to flexible, affordable capital.” On their website, they say that their next round of funding is opening up in mid-April (which should be right about now), so get on their mailing list to be informed about when applications are being reviewed.
– Another strong funding opportunity mentioned is savesmallbusiness.com. Led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the goal is to give $5K grants to offer short-term relief to businesses in the days ahead.
– Warren Wettenstein, President of the Milpitas Chamber of Commerce, spoke on the Chamber’s dedication to supporting small businesses. They’ve been taking calls from business owners every day, and have been providing referrals. The Chamber has worked with the City to contact almost 200 restaurants to see if they are still open, and has also created a resource page on their website.
– Takeout Thursday was also mentioned as a way of supporting restaurant owners and families in need. A collaboration between the Milpitas Chamber, Milpitas Community Educational Endowment, and The Milpitas Beat, the campaign kicked off two weeks ago, and has already supported a few businesses while also feeding families. Learn more about it here.
– The Milpitas Chamber has also launched their DiscoverMilpitas.com website, and is offering free advertising to business owners; in the meantime, they’re working on offering special website packages.
– Milpitas Unified School District (MUSD) Superintendent Cheryl Jordan mentioned that some students have established different organizations to support the community during the pandemic, which are: Corona-Covery, Projectmaskify, Read for a Cause, and Milpitas Gives Back.
– Superintendent Jordan also announced that the district was launching MUSD Alliance Partners. The program will provide our “small business community with a streamlined process of meeting, training, and recruiting MUSD parents, learners eligible for internships, apprentice programs, and employment opportunities in the city.” Business owners can go here to learn more and submit their information.