Many extra companies took benefit of the companies supplied by the state’s Small Enterprise Improvement Facilities in what was a making an attempt yr for established corporations as properly. By the point it ended, consultants whose companies have been paid for by the facilities offered roughly 32,900 hours of their time to enterprise homeowners who did not must pay a cent for it.
“That’s a critically necessary piece of this entire puzzle. It does not price you something to come back to the SDBC, whether or not you’re a model new startup or, once more, that hundred-year-old present firm that’s trying to overcome a problem or develop into extra worthwhile,” Minnesota Small Enterprise Improvement Heart Community State Director Bruce Sturdy stated Wednesday, March 17.
Talking at an internet roundtable dialogue that afternoon, Sturdy and different officers characterised the facilities as a useful and stabilizing — if not little-publicized — drive, the significance of which was solely underscored by the pandemic. The U.S. Small Enterprise Administration, the federal entity overseeing the facilities, has till lately forbid them from advertising their companies.
However, a complete of 5,835 entrepreneurs and companies sought assist in one type or one other from the 9 facilities scattered all through Minnesota final yr, roughly 2,000 greater than reportedly did so in 2019. Sturdy attributed the bump to the quite a few challenges the coronavirus pandemic posed to enterprise homeowners.
Nathalie Nkashama stated at Wednesday’s roundtable that consultants the facilities employed on her behalf helped her Worthington, Minn.-based African food store to navigate the appliance course of for acquiring Paycheck Safety Program loans. That program, additionally overseen by the SBA, launched final yr when Congress handed the preliminary $2.2 trillion coronavirus reduction invoice and is credited with sustaining numerous companies which may have in any other case gone below because of the pandemic recession.
“It took a group for me to get right here,” Nkashama stated. “We’re a small enterprise and I used to be new into this world.”
Although the small enterprise facilities themselves are usually not lenders, they do assist their purchasers to seek out sources from which they will borrow. In 2020, officers stated Wednesday, they helped small enterprise homeowners faucet $127 million in new capital.
Small companies will, in response to Minnesota Division of Employment and Financial Improvement Commissioner Steve Grove, play a task in Minnesota’s persevering with financial restoration. He stated they’re being checked out as a “key pillar of development” for the state within the coming yr throughout Wednesday’s roundtable, noting that small companies make use of virtually half of Minnesotans.
“These are companies that line our principal streets, they’re part of our on a regular basis lives, and so they’ve additionally been among the hardest hit by the pandemic,” he stated.