The head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Isabella Casillas Guzman; U.S. Rep. Andy Kim, D-3rd District; and other federal and local leaders held a roundtable at Olga’s Diner in Marlton in Burlington County last week to discuss efforts that worked, and those that didn’t, during the pandemic as well as ongoing challenges and issues that business owners continue to face.
“Thanks to the American Rescue Plan and the actions of the Biden-Harris Administration, communities in New Jersey and across the country experienced a historic economic recovery with record job growth and small business creation,” said Guzman at the July 8 event. “Building on that strong foundation to help small business owners grow and succeed in today’s COVID-disrupted marketplace is a top priority I share with Rep. Andy Kim, and we look forward to working together to continue to strengthen supply chains and bring costs down for entrepreneurs in New Jersey and across America so that they can focus on what they do best: creating local jobs and fueling stable economic growth.”
Olga’s was able to keep its operation running through the pandemic because of programs such as COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loans, thr Restaurant Revitalization Fund, and the Paycheck Protection Program.
Participants shared their stories of navigating the challenges posed by the pandemic. Guzman and Kim highlighted the continued need for SBA to focus on equity and the importance of locally produced products to the economy, while also pointing to local resources from the agency that entrepreneurs can tap to help them start, grow, expand and continue their recovery.
“Small businesses are the lifeblood of New Jersey’s economy. As the only member of the New Jersey delegation on the Small Business Committee, I’ve worked hard to be a champion for our small businesses – helping more than 10,000 access valuable resources and capital to keep them afloat during the pandemic, identifying growth opportunities, and cutting bureaucratic red tape,” said Kim. “I want to thank SBA Administrator Guzman for joining me this past Friday in Burlington County to hear directly from small business leaders in our community about their frustrations, aspirations, and needs.”
Following the roundtable, Guzman and Kim toured a local Burlington County veterinarian and animal care provider to see the determination of small business owners and their workers, even as they opened at the start of the pandemic.
“I appreciated the opportunity to show the Administrator some of the local businesses that make this community so special, and I look forward to continuing these conversations and ensuring we’re doing all we can for New Jersey’s small businesses,” said Kim.