Small businesses are the heart of our communities, yet it feels like they are being let down.
Latinx small businesses have been greatly affected this year. First of all, when the PPP and other programs came to surface, the media reported that many sole providers couldn’t access the capital. They were shut out of the system. In fact, 99 % of Latinas were barred by the same system that should’ve helped them.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t until the third round that many of these hard-working business owners could access the funds. The help might’ve come a little too late as it is well known that 30% of businesses that don’t come back online in 30 days shut down for good.
Many people, including the Latinx community, were left to fend for themselves without the appropriate access to health care benefits. Many needed to pay for their health benefits, but couldn’t. This administration didn’t provide much solace for those who truly needed it.
To get on top of these critical issues, on Friday, September 25th, Biden for President hosted an event that highlighted the importance of small businesses, especially those owned by the Latinx community. The event, “Nuestros Negocios, Nuestro Futuro,” was held in Nevada and led by Women for Biden.
It was hosted by Uruguayan designer and businesswoman, Gabriela Hearst, and former Small Business Administration Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. Both of them got together to celebrate our nation’s small businesses while diving into issues that require plenty of attention.
Latina business owners Valeria Valera and Lulu joined them as well, with Nikita Leus-Oliva making a call to action during the event.
Hearst, who took a break from her fashion to tackle our nation’s delicate seams, voiced concerns that aren’t lost in many of our thoughts. She spoke about the triumphs and challenges Latinx small business owners have been facing.
For instance, she reminded us that small businesses had suffered disproportionately from the pandemic and the economic crisis. Though a multitude of ill-thought-out Tweets wants to convince us of the opposite, the reality is that more than 400,000 small businesses across the country have collapsed in the wake of Trump’s tragic mismanagement of the current crisis. In fact, in states like Nevada, three-quarters of small businesses have negatively been impacted by COVID-19.
Lulu Ortega said that having to spend extra money for supplies, while not incurring the same revenue has been a huge challenge for her this year.
“Rent is the same; bills are the same. What we need is support and assistance in rent for small businesses. We need a break, ” Ortega said.
It goes without saying that the gross negligence of Trump’s Administration has stalled Latinx small business owners’ progress, which has permitted for the regression of small businesses.
An Ambitious Plan
On the other hand, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have a plan to get small business owners to get them through this crisis. They have the ayuda that will allow small business owners to get back on their feet. They understand how indispensable putting families and small businesses first is to the nation. Since the current administration primarily focuses on large corporations, small businesses are frequently left in the back burner.
However, Biden and Harris will do everything in their power to steer the narrative into a direction that will work for everyday folk.
They are dedicating themselves to support Latinas by improving their economic security, addressing healthcare disparities, and expanding access to small business capital. Through this, they know they will put not only Latinas but everyone in the path of a sustainable future.
Latina business owners like Valeria Valera know the importance of this too well.
“My business is being affected at the moment because we don’t know how to respond. The plan is not clear. I think that one of the biggest things that would be beneficial for our industry would be a comprehensive plan derived from the government, where they give us guidelines on how to reopen. We need a plan that is based on science,” Valera said.
Even though many Latinas have faced countless challenges in recent times, Hearts knows that a Latina’s strength is insurmountable.
“Grit, determination, and coraje are what it takes to run a business, and Latinas are demonstrating every day as Latinx small business owners that they are increasingly becoming an economic force,” Gabriela Heart said.
Of course, this can be shown if we elect the right president to lead us forward.
A Crucial Moment for Latinas
Maria Contreras- Sweet, who served in President’s Barack Obama’s cabinet, gave us plenty to think about in this regard.
Born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrating to the United States at a young age, Contreras-Sweet knows from first-hand the difficulties immigrants may experience. She struggled with her English as she got older, which affected her chances of getting hired. This led her to start making flowers, her first small business. She later went on to sell jewelry as well. She understands the need for Latinas to provide for her family and how vital it is for them. This is why she can speak with confidence about helping small businesses succeed.
After plenty of hard work, Contreras-Sweet became the Secretary of Transportation in California. Though happy with her position, she noticed the lack of women in these jobs. She wanted to get more women, more Latinas on board but wasn’t given the opportunity.
Rather than stay with her arms crossed, Contreras-Sweet decided to gather a few Latinas to open up a Latina-owned bank in downtown Los Angeles. Here, she learned the importance of giving Latinas the chance to have proper consultations, access to capital, and markets.
Seeing the need for improvement for small business owners, Biden and Obama opened up these opportunities when President Obama asked her to join the cabinet. Together they built an SBA that broke records on all fronts. They increased loans to all women to 23%, particularly Latinas.
Both Obama and Biden made sure to extend access to markets in Colombia, Panama, and other Latin American countries and match them. By providing them that type of access, they could ensure that they could sell domestically and internationally.
Noticing how imperative small businesses are to the nation, part of Biden’s structure is making sure he covers three significant Cs in his administration for small business owners. He will focus on capital, counseling, and contracts.
The reality is that a lot could’ve been prevented if the Commander-in-Chief would’ve encouraged the country to wear a mask. Joe Biden knows that following and respecting the appropriate health guidelines, the U.S. would be rid of the pandemic at a quicker rate.
However, Biden would’ve been on top of the health guidelines, and things might’ve been different by now.
Contreras- Sweet explained that this is one of the reasons why she fights for Biden. She knows that he will preserve the legacy and majesty of this nation. She knows he will make sure that the world continues to look to the United States for leadership and order.
“Everything is at stake here,” Maria Contreras-Sweet said.
At the end of the event, Nikita Leus- Oliva jumped on for a call to action. She said that there were few days left from the elections, and it is important we work on electing the right candidate.
“No more waiting. Now is the time to jump in,” she said.
We need someone who doesn’t put other countries down. We need strong customers. And Biden believes in a world that is strong and deepened democracy exists.
We need someone who understands the struggle.
Biden did not inherit anything, whereas Trump did. Even then, Trump messes up anything he inherits, including an economy that was meant to excel. Instead, we now have hundreds of thousands of small businesses that have shuttered because of his vanity.
The Obama-Biden administration inherited the Great Recession from the previous administration. Yet, Barack and Joe were able to put in place an economy that gave us 75 months of consistent job growth.
That’s the kind of administration Joe and Kamala will represent.
Make sure you go to iwillvote.com to make a plan for yourself before November. So many things are on the line with this election, and your voice matters more than ever. Even if you don’t believe it, it does.
As Bernie Sanders recently said, “this isn’t a race between Trump and Biden; this a race between Trump and democracy.”