Today, CEO John Arensmeyer shared a letter with congressional leadership outlining key policy recommendations that must be included in the forthcoming human infrastructure package. These investments are critical because small businesses need more support to ensure a successful long-term recovery from the pandemic, and to promote a more resilient workforce and economy.
As developments continue to unfold in response to the spread of COVID-19, we know many small businesses have questions about implications in the workplace and funding options to help bolster their businesses during this difficult time. We are compiling relevant tips and resources and information on new funding opportunities, how to get your business online and how to manage your employees. Access a list of national, state and local resources on emergency loans and grants, paid leave, unemployment, and more. New resources are added daily as information becomes available.
Venturize is a free online resource hub for small business owners like you who need help accessing tools and resources to grow their businesses. Managed by Small Business Majority, Venturize offers unbiased education and resources about small business loans, retirement and healthcare to empower entrepreneurs to make the best financial decisions for their business. We also help small businesses get connected to trusted local providers that can help their enterprises grow.
As entrepreneurs continue to navigate a number of challenges operating their businesses, Small Business Majority surveyed small business owners and managers nationwide to understand their current business conditions and how they may have benefited from federal relief programs. The survey found that nearly two-thirds (65%) of small businesses felt more optimistic about their business prospects for this year's second quarter. Despite this optimism, small businesses are facing a number of challenges, including inflation, supply chain disruptions and workforce shortages.
Today, Small Business Majority and more than 50 small business organizations sent a letter to Congressional leaders underscoring the importance to preserve the $10 billion allocated to the State Small Business Credit Initiative program. As representatives of small businesses around the country, our organizations know firsthand that access to capital can determine the success of any small business and that is why we rise to show our support for preserving a program that is instrumental in helping small business owners access much-needed capital.
On April 6, Small Business Majority submitted a letter to congressional leaders opposing pay-fors for the Bipartisan COVID Supplemental Appropriations Act. The Act rescinds dollars from key programs, including $900 million from the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance and nearly $2 billion from the State Small Business Credit Initiative. Rescinding these dollars undercuts the trajectory of the small buisness ecosystem during a time when small business owners are still struggling to keep their doors open.
Shipra Bhatia researches and writes grant proposals and reports for Small Business Majority. She previously worked with the Government of India-United Nations Development Program (UNDP) where she supported programs in different capacities, the most notable being the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM), one of the world's most significant initiatives to improve the livelihoods of rural poor. She has also served as a research consultant for academic institutes on governance reforms in India.
Underregulated technology platforms, corporate consolidations and pernicious business practices are fueling an increasingly uneven level playing field between small and large companies by dramatically restricting markets and stifling competition. These challenges have been exacerbated during the pandemic as small businesses pivot their businesses to stay afloat, and thousands of people launched new entrepreneurial endeavors. A new opinion poll reveals that our nation’s entrepreneurs are being harmed by myriad anti-competitive practices, and they strongly support policies to create a more equitable business landscape.
On March 16, LaJuanna Russell, founder and president of Business Management Associates, Inc. (BMA) and the Chair of the Board of Directors and a member of the Small Business Council for Small Business Majority, testified before the U.S. Select House Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth about the critical role of entrepreneurship as a pathway to long-term financial stability and growth for Americans, as well as to discuss barriers to starting and sustaining small businesses.
In a letter submitted to Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, Maxine Waters, and Ranking Member Patrick McHenry, Founder and CEO John Arensmeyer urged members to markup H.R. 6054, the Small Business Lending Disclosure Act of 2021 in its current form and pass it out of committee immediately. The bill would protect entrepreneurs from predatory lenders that offer unfair terms and conditions. Additionally, the measure would extend safeguards already required in consumer lending, through the Truth in Lending Act, to small business borrowers.