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As Small Business Support is Signed Into Law, Michigan Small Business Owners Highlight Peters’ Effort Securing Funding for Minority-Owned Businesses

Peters Convened a Minority-Owned Business Virtual Roundtable on Most Recent Coronavirus Small Business Funding Passed by Congress & Signed Into Law

DETROIT, MI – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) is continuing to press to ensure that minority-owned small businesses are able to obtain access to the loans and capital to stay afloat during the Coronavirus pandemic. Today, President Trump signed into law legislation to provide additional funding for the Small Business Administration (SBA)’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), hospitals and health care providers, and testing. The legislation includes funding Peters led the fight to include for small community-based lenders, including Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs). According to the Treasury Department, only 78 of 950 CDFIs participated in the first round of PPP funding, largely affecting minority-owned businesses including those in low-income neighborhoods.

Peters additionally convened a virtual roundtable discussion Thursday with the SBA and representatives from CDFIs and MDIs to help answer questions from Michigan minority small business owners regarding the new round of funding and how to apply for assistance.

“I’ve been very concerned that Michigan small businesses – and particularly minority-owned businesses – haven’t been able to secure loans through the Paycheck Protection Program,” said Senator Peters. “After helping increase funding for the program, minority-owned businesses will be able to access dedicated resources to help them stay afloat. But this is only a start: I’m going to continue pushing to ensure Michigan small businesses get the support they deserve and for oversight to ensure the Paycheck Protection Program is helping businesses most at-risk.”

Peters has heard from many Michigan minority small business owners, who have previously been unable to secure loans from the Paycheck Protection Program and welcomed the new resources, including:

Damany Head, Owner of Essential Recycling and Chairman of the Pontiac Regional Chamber of Commerce: “Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) are crucial to small businesses owners like myself and others in Pontiac. Senator Peters is spot-on in his effort to get more support for CDFIs. By dedicating funding more for CDFIs, we can put our small businesses in a better position to emerge from this crisis and succeed down the road – and I thank Senator Peters for leading that fight.”

Tammy Turner, Co-Owner of Kapstone Employment Services in Detroit: “I’ve spent my career working to bring talent to Detroit and help bring our City back. My employees and I want to continue doing that, but we need to know we can get through this pandemic first. We need funding for minority-owned businesses because too often we’re not taken into account. Senator Peters saw that and took action. We thank him for his leadership and we’re going to keep doing all we can to ride this out and continue giving back to Detroit.”

Charlie Weston, Owner of Charlie’s Smokin BBQ in Flint: “Since 2003, we’ve been providing high-quality barbeque for the Flint community – and through thick and thin, we’ve been so proud to be a part of this city. Right now, we’re hurting – and I haven’t had any luck applying for SBA assistance. Senator Peters is fighting to make sure minority-owned businesses can get federal support, and I’m grateful he was successful in securing specific funding for these businesses.”

Rosa Thomason, Owner of Nu-Nu’s Nursery in Port Huron: “Taking care of children is my life’s work. On a normal day, I had 28 employees caring for anywhere from 70-100 children. Today I am down to 8 employees caring for 10-15 children. I am determined to stay open so my team and I can care for the children of first responders, police officers and front line workers working every day to support St. Clair County. Having access to funding will go a long way towards ensuring children are taken care of while their parents are at work supporting them. I want to thank Senator Peters for fighting to ensure I can have the opportunity to support my employees and this community.”

Khadija B. Wallace, Founder & CEO of Joyful Treats Catering and Community Development Corporation in Ypsilanti: “Trying to navigate the process of applying for small business help and unemployment assistance for some of my many part-time workers has been an incredibly frustrating process. That’s why Senator Peters’ effort to ensure women and minority-owned businesses have access to dedicated funding is so welcomed and appreciated. As Emeritus Food Service Chair with the Washtenaw County Food Policy Council, I’m proud to be doing my part to promote buying locally. With access to small business assistance now, I hope to continue promoting healthy eating and contributing to our local economy in the future.”

Andrea Jones, Bakery Owner, Nothing Bundt Cakes in Sterling Heights: “Many minority-owned businesses are already at a disadvantage because of a lack of access to capital when starting up. This crisis has only made our situation more difficult. Right now my business is still trying to stay open, but I’m down to a very limited staff as we take every safety precaution possible to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. We need more assistance to get through this crisis – especially for minority-owned businesses. Thank you to Senator Peters for not forgetting us and continuously working hard to support us.”