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Colorado stimulus plan to provide relief for small businesses

The Colorado General Assembly took swift action this week in passing an economic relief package that includes support for small businesses that continue to experience severe impacts from the pandemic.

More importantly, state officials have taken into consideration lessons learned during the federal rollout of the Paycheck Protection Program and have crafted these measures in a way that will prioritize some of the most vulnerable small businesses and those owned by people of color who were shut out of federal relief programs.

This investment—which includes $37 million for direct grant assistance for small businesses that face closures, $4 million in direct relief and technical assistance for minority-owned businesses, and funding for creative industries and entertainment districts—will provide temporary relief for small businesses that are struggling to keep their doors open and their employees on payroll.

This financial support couldn’t have come at a more critical time as small businesses in Colorado face new challenges in the wake of renewed restrictions under local health ordinances. A staggering 1 in 3 small businesses in our network, including 41% of Black and Latino-owned businesses, report they will be forced to permanently close their businesses without additional relief.

With the lack of action on a federal stimulus package from Capitol Hill and the White House, our job creators are looking to their state leaders to act in their best interests. The General Assembly stepped in this week to try to fill in this financial gap, especially for women and entrepreneurs of color. With the passage of this stimulus package, funds will go directly to local governments that are better equipped to respond to the needs of their local small business community.

As the backbone of our state’s economy, small businesses have created innovative and competitive jobs, financially independent pathways for minority and women entrepreneurs and are the drivers of economic development in their local communities.

Colorado has taken an important step in preserving the livelihood of the small business community, but more must be done to ensure they can survive and recover from this economic crisis.

As an immediate priority, Congressional leaders must pass additional relief in order for the economy to stabilize. And we look forward to state lawmakers continuing their work to support small business owners in the 2021 session.

Hunter Railey is the Colorado Director for Small Business Majority. Small Business Majority is a national small business organization that empowers America’s diverse entrepreneurs to build a thriving and inclusive economy.