Minority-owned businesses prioritized for federal aid

Small businesses suffering pandemic impact

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Thirty percent of small businesses don’t think they’ll survive this year, and 80 percent of minority owned businesses report being in poor financial condition, according to a Federal Reserve Bank survey.

“It’s pretty difficult to have a small business, a small family-owned business,” said Jesus Diaz, a manager at La Fresita, a Mexican restaurant in Tucson.

With their indoor dining still closed, the restaurant is relying on delivery and drive-thru orders. The pandemic has decreased sales by half. The family tried getting federal assistance and received one loan, which helped cover disposable plates and utensils. Diaz said getting more aid would be a game changer.

“I think it would help us a lot definitely,” he said. “We had plans to do some improvements.”

Diaz is hopeful the community will patronize local shops and restaurants to help them stay afloat.

“I don’t ask that people come here to support us. I just ask that the public helps support small businesses, local businesses more than anything,” he said.

The Associated Press found many minority business owners waited far longer than other applicants to get loans last year. The Small Business Administration has rolled out another round of PPP loans and reports it will give priority to minority-owned businesses.

Tucson small businesses can get no-cost help with loan applications through the Small Business Development Center at Pima Community College.

“We serve startups, we assist all size companies, single owners, 20, 50, 100,” said Ellen Kirton the director at the Small Business Development Center.

She said businesses will likely qualify for PPP loans if they saw a 25% drop in quarterly sales between 2019 and 2020. Kirton said disaster loans have also reopened but aren’t forgivable.

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