While the US Small Business Administration’s $33 billion in COVID-19 pandemic relief has helped keep small businesses afloat, they face more challenges, the administrator said Monday. agency during a visit to the Detroit metro.
Isabel Guzman visited Lawrence Technological University’s Centrepolis Accelerator on Monday for a private roundtable with local politicians and women-owned small businesses in recognition of Women’s History Month and as part of a campaign to to better connect business owners to federal resources.
Guzman told reporters at a media event that access to capital was the top concern she heard from business owners, including those in restaurants, manufacturing and construction. Rising material costs, talent shortages and childcare costs were also high on the list.
“They still face some of these challenges on the horizon where we wanted to make sure that the SBA is positioned to support them with the capital they need and continue to take advantage of opportunities in the future, as well as provide them technical assistance on the strategic business model changes they need to adapt to in the market right now,” Guzman said.
Guzman was joined by Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II and U.S. Representatives Brenda Lawrence, Haley Stevens and Rashida Tlaib.
“During COVID, our women-owned businesses and small businesses have really been hit hard and we need to be sensitive, prepared and structured so we can be a lifeline,” Lawrence said. “The health of our small business community is critical to the economic success of Michigan and this country.”
After the roundtable, Guzman visited K-Tec Systems Inc., a small manufacturer of wire harnesses and sensors in Ferndale.
President and CEO Cathy Koch said her company nearly went bankrupt when COVID-19 hit two years ago, but a $500,000 SBA loan and diversifying her business to manufacture sensors temperature for Pfizer vaccine shipments saved her.