March 2021 - Alliance to Save the American Dream

SBA Set to Make New Changes

March 26, 2021 - Alliance to Save the American Dream
SBA, small business association

Isabella Casillas Guzman, the new head of the Small Business Administration, is set to make new changes at the agency to further help small businesses and companies. 

Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, a devastating 400,000 businesses have closed. 

Guzman expects small business provisions in the rescue package to help those still struggling, including $10 billion to support state lending. Another $100 million has been allocated for a new program deemed Community Navigator, which aims to educate and advise struggling business owners. 

By using the Community Navigator, SBA will be able to gather information to help it determine what changes need to be made. The program is designed to partner with community financial institutions and SBA-sponsored Small Business Development Centers to assist struggling and disadvantaged businesses.

“That will provide us with a strong feedback loop from small businesses about what their needs are,” Guzman said.

Guzman, the former SBA Deputy Chief of Staff under the Obama administration, said she hopes to implement new programs that spark hope for small businesses.

“We’ll be looking at our overall programs to see a path forward for small businesses,” she told the Associated Press

Prior to the pandemic, the agency’s main lending platforms  were its 7(a) and 504 programs. These loans helped owners start and build their businesses. Such traditional loan programs will potentially see some changes, Guzman said. The 27th administrator’s agenda will also include technological enhancement. 

“We just need to ensure that we’ve modernized the SBA,” she said.

The Alliance to Save the American Dream is a non-profit organization dedicated to three core goals.

1. Develop an Ideas Factory to give small businesses and industries a centralized place to share innovative ideas that must be considered.

2. Build a unique Resources portal for small businesses to go to for answers or resources that address a wide range of issues or challenges.

3. Offer a new networking opportunity for small business owners to connect while also giving them a platform to share their own personal stories.

For more information, visit savetheamericandream.com. 

Small Businesses Flock to Shopify

March 18, 2021 - Alliance to Save the American Dream

A third option for small businesses that focus on e-commerce has emerged. Shopify presents merchants with access to cloud-based third-party services. From payments to fulfillment, merchants have more control of their brand and customer relationships, a key difference between Amazon services. 

Shopify’s main offering is a cloud-based service that makes it more simple to build and operate an online store. Its latest offerings include warehousing, fulfillment, and small business loans. Shopify Capital has lent small businesses across the country $1.7 billion since its initial launch. 

According to Digital Commerce 360, e-commerce spending grew 44% in 2020 compared to 2019. Contributing to the growth of e-commerce outside of Amazon were smaller retailers paving their own ways to directly reach shoppers. 

Shopify, a 14-year-old company, has become one of the largest providers of software and services for merchants who establish their own online stores, with revenue growing by 86% in 2020

Shopify’s rival, Amazon, forces sellers to give up critical customer data, such as email addresses. Neil Bruce, the head of online for Toolstop, a 56-year-old family-run hardware store and wholesaler based in Glasgow, Scotland, said that his company charges an average fee of 14% for each item’s price that he sells on Amazon. 

Unlike Amazon, Shopify strives to level the playing field for small businesses. 

“We view our role as leveling the playing fields so that retailers can, rather than rent customers from these platforms, own the relationship with customers,” Shopify President, Harley Finkelstei, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. 

The Alliance to Save the American Dream is a non-profit organization dedicated to three core goals.

1. Develop an Ideas Factory to give small businesses and industries a centralized place to share innovative ideas that must be considered.

2. Build a unique Resources portal for small businesses to go to for answers or resources that address a wide range of issues or challenges.

3. Offer a new networking opportunity for small business owners to connect while also giving them a platform to share their own personal stories.

For more information, visit savetheamericandream.com. 

Women are Losing Job Gains Amid Pandemic

March 9, 2021 - Alliance to Save the American Dream

The Chattanooga Women’s Leadership Institute is sounding the alarm that women’s job gains made up until the pandemic are quickly dropping. Executive Director, Kim Shumpert, envisions a new climb ahead for working women, following a trying year for businesses. 

“All of the work we have done to finally see women elevated was sort of taking hold, only for almost every bit of that to be wiped out by the pandemic,” Shumpert said in an interview with Business Insider. 

In early 2020, data showed women held just over 50% of payroll jobs. Then, COVID-19 hit paralyzed the world. 

In the latest report, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found about 1.8 million men have left the workforce, compared to nearly 2.4 million women.

“What you see is a lot of expectations and societal expectations that are there that on day one predominantly women were the ones to come home,” Shumpert said.

Due to closing schools and childcare facilities, women have increasingly been torn between their careers and caring for their children due to virtual learning. 

“Our leadership can have some influence and really begin to do some culture-shifting around some of these things so that we can think innovatively,” Shumpert noted. 

Her advice to businesses — improve pay disparities when the opportunity arises and quality of jobs available to women, and continue offering flexible schedules started during the pandemic. 

“We are at a crossroads,” she said. “How we deal with this issue will determine the quality that we see going forward.”

The Alliance to Save the American Dream is a non-profit organization dedicated to three core goals.

1. Develop an Ideas Factory to give small businesses and industries a centralized place to share innovative ideas that must be considered.

2. Build a unique Resources portal for small businesses to go to for answers or resources that address a wide range of issues or challenges.

3. Offer a new networking opportunity for small business owners to connect while also giving them a platform to share their own personal stories.

For more information, visit savetheamericandream.com. 

Governor Cuomo Sets Unrealistic Goal for Independent Theater Owners

March 2, 2021 - Alliance to Save the American Dream


On March 5, movie theaters will be permitted to open at 25% with no more than 50 people per screen, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in a tweet following a press conference. 

Despite the news, independent-run entities are discouraged by the short notice from their governor.  

“That’s just a total loss of revenue by even opening,” independent theater owner, Harvey Elgart, told the Post.

These operators claim that the reopening plan favors major theater chains that can afford the cost, such as AMC, but hurts small business owners. 

Elgart, who owns three theaters in New York City, says that will be an impossible reality for smaller theaters.

“The overhead to run a theater is just tremendous,” he explained. “The utility bills, the electric, the heat. It’s a major cash-flow problem to open with so few people to come. I can actually do better by staying closed than open.”

Meanwhile, fellow indie theater owner, Nick Nicolaou, also told the Post his theaters won’t be able to meet the March 5 date. 

“Operating at 25 percent is not going to cover expenses, but it’s going to allow us to reopen and reopen safely,” he said. “To train our staff and follow the guidelines, that takes time.”

The Alliance to Save the American Dream is a non-profit organization dedicated to three core goals.

1. Develop an Ideas Factory to give small businesses and industries a centralized place to share innovative ideas that must be considered.

2. Build a unique Resources portal for small businesses to go to for answers or resources that address a wide range of issues or challenges.

3. Offer a new networking opportunity for small business owners to connect while also giving them a platform to share their own personal stories.

For more information, visit savetheamericandream.com. 

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