Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Most co-ops can't get pandemic relief for small businesses

The Small Business Administration has provided millions in pandemic aid to small businesses and organizations through initiatives such as the Paycheck Protection Program, the Community Navigator Pilot program and more, but cooperatives are largely excluded from accessing it because of pre-pandemic SBA policies, Lydia DePillis reports for ProPublica

"In 2018, Congress passed the Main Street Employee Ownership Act as part of a defense authorization bill, pushing the agency to open its flagship 7(a) loan program to co-ops. Even as the SBA’s then-administrator Linda McMahon expressed support for the concept, Trump administration SBA officials did not change key policies that would have facilitated widespread access. They also failed to implement other parts of the new law, such as a requirement to start a program charged with promoting employee ownership," DePillis reports. "The result: Cooperative businesses are still largely cut out of the mainstream financial system that funds new enterprises, making it extremely difficult for them to scale up." Read more here.

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