City's Economic Development and Technology Committee to Discuss Small Business Disaster Relief Fund - Pasadena Now

The once bustling streets of Old Pasadena are devoid of shoppers in this May, 2020 photo. Image by James Carbone

Pasadena-based independent small businesses that have been losing revenue and are in danger of closing because of the coronavirus pandemic stand to benefit from a relief fund under consideration.

On Tuesday, June 9, the City Council’s Economic Development and Technology Committee will discuss and finalize a proposed agreement between the City and the PCF to establish a “COVID-19 Small Business Disaster Relief Fund” to help small businesses weather the current crisis.

The Fund would provide at least $10,000 in loans to qualified businesses in Pasadena from a fund of $500,000 that the city will establish for the PCF to manage once the fund agreement is signed.

The PCF hopes to raise more money from donations to be able to continue providing relief.

The funding proposal’s final form is scheduled to be presented to the City Council next week for approval, according to a preliminary report by the EDTech Committee.

Last month, at a previous EDTech Committee meeting, the idea of the City working with the PCF and the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce to develop a local business grant program was discussed, owing to the fact that most independently-owned small businesses have the most difficulty in accessing federal relief funding. National research indicates that nearly 7.5 million – about a quarter of the nation’s total number of small businesses – are at risk of closing over the next three months because of the pandemic.

The EDTech Committee also cited current statistics showing that federal relief funding is not enough, with half of the businesses that received funding through the Paycheck Protection Program or Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program programs saying they received less than $8,000. A survey found that most small business owners cited a need for an additional $10,000 to sustain their businesses.

Hello Alice, a small-business support service, also did a survey and found that most small businesses who responded were in danger of closing for lack of $10,000, according to the EDTech Committee report.

Staff also looked at other city models on the West Coast and found that various city and state governments are responding with grant and loan programs to support small businesses. Many of their programs focus on businesses with one to 20 employees and have less than $3 million in annual gross revenues. The grants ranged from $2,000 to $25,000 in these jurisdictions, the report said.

According to the proposal, the fund intends specifically to “augment federal, state and local aid by financially supplementing Pasadena businesses in hopes of sustaining the local economic base.”

Beneficiaries will be street-level, storefront businesses, and the funds will be used for business-related operational costs, including COVID-19 related expenses and compliance. Preference will also be given to those businesses which commit to and have the most likely chance of reopening and surviving this prolonged pandemic.

Businesses that are locally and independently owned and not part of a national or regional chain or a franchise, and have not received a loan from either PPP or EIDL programs for COVID-19 in 2020, will also be preferred.

The report said PCF would administer the fund and will provide the funding to the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber of Commerce will be the entity to issue checks to the businesses.

The City, the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce and Pasadena Community Foundation will work jointly to develop criteria and appoint a Selection Committee to evaluate applications for the relief program.

The EDTech Committee’s virtual meeting begins at 4 p.m. Members of the public may access the live stream through www.pasadenamedia.org and at https://ift.tt/2MFf4BM. They may also participate electronically in the open session portion of the meeting by submitting public comment of any length to sarobles@cityofpasadena.net prior to 1 p.m. the day of the meeting.

After 1 p.m., and during the meeting, members of the public may submit up to 200 words regarding items on the agenda to https://ift.tt/2UoTcPI.

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