The Biden government on Monday announced plans to provide “just aid” to small businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak, with a focus on businesses that may have struggled to obtain forgivable loans and minority-owned businesses.
The White House released a statement that it builds on last year’s paycheck protection program. The PPP program, launched a month ago, increased funding for companies with fewer than 10 employees by 60% and for rural companies by 30%.
The statement said that funds distributed through financial institutions for community development and depositaries for minorities also increased by 40%.
The administration also announced a 14-day period starting Wednesday that will allow companies with fewer than 20 employees to sign up for the loans. The administration said it is not uncommon for these companies to take more time to file the relevant documents. The statement said that self-employed people will also have the opportunity to qualify for more financial support.
Biden’s team is also donating $ 1 billion to target sole proprietorships such as building contractors and beauticians, most of whom are women and black people.
Vice President Kamala Harris and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen held a virtual meeting earlier this month with officials representing some of the 140 chapters of Black Chambers across the country. The appearance was part of the government’s ongoing efforts to raise support for President Joe Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief program.
Yellen said the country was set back from that economic downturn in the 2008 financial crisis and long, slow recovery. Black unemployment peaked at almost 17%, compared to a high of 9.2% for white unemployment during that period.
“That’s what economic crises do,” said Yellen. “You hit people of color harder and longer. … I am concerned that the current crisis will do that again ”unless action is taken.
The Associated Press contributed to this report