It has been a year unlike any other.
It has never been easy to run a small business. This year the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis have posed even more overwhelming challenges. Especially for small business owners in the Pacific Northwest and across the nation.
In the darkest days of the pandemic it was our local coffee shops, salons, and bakeries that remained open. They brought much needed normalcy and connectivity to our lives. Small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities, they define the character of our neighborhoods and cities. They hold this purpose that is critical to the foundations and development of our own neighborhoods, and now they need our support now more than ever.
To support small businesses during this challenging time at Business Impact NW, we have been committed to providing services to entrepreneurs adversely impacted by COVID-19.
Our adaptive COVID-19 response has included transitioning all of our coaching and classes online, to provide fully remote and safe assistance. This year, we dropped the cost of our technical assistance coaching and classes. This made our support services available for free, or at a low cost – for those who need them most. Since the onset of the pandemic, we have created a new suite of courses and trainings tailored to COVID-19 recovery. They include informational webinars on COVID relief programs, health and safety measures, and resiliency tactics. We’ve committed to providing the one-on-one support entrepreneurs need. As a result, our organization grew and we hired 11 talented new staff members – 4 of whom are a part of our new COVID Response Team.
We at Business Impact NW believe no one should be turned away during this time of need.
Thanks to generous support from Harborstone Credit Union, Verity Credit Union, and Rivermark Credit Union who provided us with the initial capital for our Paycheck Protection Program Loans and to the Federal Reserve’s Paycheck Protection Program Liquidity Facility (PPPLF). We were able to provide loans to small businesses so they can survive this crisis. For our existing lending clients, we provided new emergency loans and restructured our current loans.
We know that the pathway to recovery looks different for every business.
This year we dedicated ourselves to working directly with small business owners so they are supported to adapt and thrive through recovery and beyond. Since the onset of the pandemic, Business Impact NW has provided one-on-one coaching, classes, and trainings to 1,844 small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. Supported 99 entrepreneurs retool their business and 90 new businesses to launch. Helped create or retain 213 jobs.
Since March we have provided 214 PPP loans totaling $6.5 million dollars to small businesses who couldn’t get them anywhere else. 43% of these loans went to communities of color owned businesses. For lending clients adversely impacted by COVID-19 we provided 32 emergency loans and adjusted the terms for 59 payment abatements. All while closing an additional 81 loans for $4.4 million to get capital in the hands of entrepreneurs.
The success of small businesses is not only critical for supporting the sustainable recovery of our economy. But essential for the recovery of our communities, our neighborhoods, and our lives.
2020 has made it clear that we cannot foresee what the future will hold. We at Business Impact NW know that in 2021 we will continue our mission. To grow businesses that create jobs in underserved communities and support small businesses no matter what the year has in store.
Thank you to Harborstone Credit Union, Verity Credit Union, Rivermark Credit Union, the SBA, and the PPPLF. And all of those who have sponsored, donated, and supported our work in 2020.