South Court Auditorium
Eisenhower Executive Office Building
12:29 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon. I just had an opportunity to catch up with two small-business owners I met on the road in the last couple weeks. And the first was a very entrepreneurial woman named Pilar Guzman Zavala, and she’s in Florida, Miami. And Tim Eichinger, who is in Wisconsin. They have different businesses and live in different places, but both shared the same message with me when I spoke to them on the road, and that was American small businesses are hurting and hurting badly, and they need help now. And it’s in all of our interests to make sure they get the help now.
Small businesses are the engines of our economic progress; they’re the glue and the heart and soul of our communities. But they’re getting crushed. Since the beginning of this pandemic, 400,000 small businesses have closed — 400,000 — and millions more are hanging by a thread.
It’s hurting black, Latino, and Asian American communities the hardest. Walk down any Main Street and you see it: empty storefronts, goodbye signs hanging in the windows. Maybe it’s the pizza place you used to take your family to dinner, or the hardware store that always had the tool you needed. It’s mom-and-pop shop that’s sponsored by — that is supported by the community, and then, in turn, they support the community. They sponsor a Little League team; the barber shop with the first dollar bill that he or she earned is still taped to the wall, along with a picture of the kids who are now in college.
These small businesses — not the ones with 500 employees, but these small businesses that, with a handful of folks, they are 90 percent of the businesses in America. But when the Paycheck Protection Program was passed, a lot of these mom-and-pop business just got muscled out of the way by bigger companies who jumped in front of the line.
And I want to be clear: The Paycheck Protection Program is a bipartisan effort; Democrats and Republicans helped pass it. But Democrats and Republicans have also voiced concerns about improving it. With their input, that’s what we’re doing in our administration: improving it.
In the last month, we’ve increased the share of funding for small businesses with fewer than 10 employees by nearly 60 percent. For businesses in rural communities, the share of funding is up nearly 30 percent since we came to office. And the share of funding distributed through banks that traditionally help minority-owned businesses is up more than 40 percent.