Chamber calls on executives and companies to marshal available resources, talent, and unique capabilities to help small businesses in any way they can.
To combat the economic destruction threatening the survival of small businesses in every town across America, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce today launched the Save Small Business Initiative — a nationwide program to address small businesses' immediate needs, mitigate closures and job losses, and mobilize support for long-term recovery.
The Save Small Business Initiative features a four-part campaign including financial aid, resources and guidance, advocacy, and polling, as well as a call to action for the larger business community and government to help small businesses
"Our nation is facing a crisis that requires an unprecedented level of support and collaboration between government and business," said Tom Donohue, CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "The Save Small Business Initiative is a multifront battle plan to combat the ongoing economic destruction and lay the foundation for recovery."
A recent poll conducted by the Chamber and MetLife found that more than half of small businesses (54%) have closed at least temporarily or will close in the next two weeks. One in four (24%) are two months or less away from permanently closing.
"Small business owners are fighting day and night to keep their workers employed and their dreams alive. Already, too many small businesses have shuttered, and millions more are teetering on the brink of permanent closure," said Suzanne Clark, President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "These small businesses touch every family and every block of every town across America. And they need our help right now."
"We cannot and will not allow our country's critical small business sector to collapse," she said.
The Chamber is calling on every business leader and large company across the country to marshal available resources, talent, and unique capabilities to help small businesses in any way they can. Recognizing that many midsize and large companies also have been hit hard by the pandemic and the economic fallout, the Chamber is developing recommendations for companies that are in a stronger position to leverage their resources, core competencies, and new ideas to assist small businesses.
In addition, the Chamber is calling on federal, state, and local governments to consider additional mechanisms to support small businesses, including accelerating payment schedules for small business vendors, suppliers, and other contractors.
"Since the pandemic began, we have watched many companies rise to the challenge and leverage their core competencies to combat the pandemic and mitigate the impact of the virus," Clark said. "Now, we need others who are willing and able to contribute their unique expertise and much-needed resources to help small businesses survive."
THE CAMPAIGN: FOUR PILLARS
Coupled with the call to action, the four-part campaign includes:
Supplemental Financial Assistance: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is launching the Save Small Business Fund. Funded by contributions from corporate and philanthropic partners, the Foundation will provide $5,000 supplemental grants to small employers in economically vulnerable communities. The Foundation is launching the grant fund in partnership with Vistaprint and with support from Merck, S&P Global Foundation, and Travelers.
For more information on the Save Small Business Grant Fund, please click here.
Advocacy: Under the campaign, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will continue to fight for legislation, executive actions, and other government efforts to help small businesses devastated by the pandemic and economic downturn– ensuring that financial aid and support programs are not only available but also accessible.The Chamber played a central role in shaping and securing passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, including the law's unprecedented small business emergency loan programs and other measures. The Chamber recently called on Congress to shore up the funding of two key CARES Act programs that provide emergency and disaster loans to small businesses.In particular, the Chamber is directly helping small businesses navigate and access the financial aid and other relief programs available in the CARES Act.In addition to fighting for direct assistance for small businesses, the Chamber is advocating to support business groups like economic development organizations, travel and tourism boards, industry associations, and state and local chambers of commerce. These groups– which are small employers themselves– need financial assistance to stay afloat and continue supporting the small business recovery in their communities.
Resources, Webinars, and Guides: Under the Save Small Business Campaign, the Chamber is accelerating and expanding its efforts to deliver the guidance and expertise small businesses need to survive the crisis and recover following the pandemic.
Hosted on CO—, the Chamber's digital platform for small businesses, the Coronavirus Small Business Resources Hub features the latest step-by-step guides, infographics, advice, and resources to help small business owners access financial relief and navigate disruption.
In addition, the Chamber has established a partnership between CO— and Inc. Magazine to create a weekly event: the Small Business Town Hall Series . During the virtual events every Friday, Chamber experts walk through the latest guidance for small businesses and respond directly to questions from employers. Every Wednesday, CO—will host a "Workshop Wednesday" virtual event to focus on a single topic related to the coronavirus and its impact on small businesses.
The Chamber also is partnering with its network of more than 1,500 associations and local and state chambers of commerce across America to offer small business webinars and virtual Q&A sessions. Similarly, the Chamber is partnering with larger companies nationwide to offer webinars to those corporations' small business suppliers and customers.
Facebook is an initial launch partner on several small business guides and resources, and the Chamber is seeking additional partners to support this work.
Research: As part of the campaign, the Chamber and its longstanding Small Business Index partner MetLife have transformed their quarterly survey into a new Small Business Coronavirus Impact Poll. The online survey of 500 small business owners provides insights on the pace of recovery; which small businesses need the most support; and what type of relief is needed. The poll provides small business owners an even more prominent voice in the critical decision-making process in Washington.The first poll was released on April 3. The next one will be released in early May.Learn more about the campaign at uschamber.com/savesmallbusiness.The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is committed to helping American businesses respond to the coronavirus so they can support their employees, customers, and communities. Our members and the state and local chambers, who are on the front lines of this pandemic, need us now more than ever to help them through this significant disruption. We will continue working every day to help our country's people, businesses, and economy weather this storm and emerge stronger—just as we have at other challenging times in our nation's history. Visit uschamber.com/Coronavirus for more information.