READOUT: Vice President Kamala Harris Joins SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman for a National Conversation With Small Business Owners and Leaders on COVID Economic Aid and Recovery

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Release Date: July 30, 2021

Release Number: RO 21-11

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READOUT:  Vice President Kamala Harris Joins SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman for a National Conversation With Small Business Owners and Leaders on COVID Economic Aid and Recovery 

WASHINGTON – On July 29, 2021, Vice President Kamala Harris and SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman met with small business owners and advocates to discuss critical Biden-Harris economic aid to help small businesses in rural, urban, and underserved communities build back better. 

Nearly 11,000 participants joined the virtual briefing for small business owners on COVID-19 economic aid and recovery as part of the "Getting Back on Track: Help is Here" webinar series cosponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and Public-Private Strategies Institute (PPSI). 

"You are not only leaders in business, you are civic leaders, you are community leaders, and you are our country's leaders," said Vice President Kamala Harris to small business owners. “The President and I are 100 percent committed to supporting America's small businesses and small-business owners." 

"After months of disruptions, increased costs and debt, there is still uncertainty — especially among our smallest businesses in rural and low-income communities, and those owned by women and people of color," said Administrator Guzman. "These entrepreneurs faced historic inequities and persistent barriers, which kept them from accessing early rounds of relief and other vital resources. That's why the Biden-Harris Administration's focus on equity is so important. If our nation is going to recover fully, then we must give everyone with an idea or an entrepreneurial dream the tools and support they need to help build our reimagined economy." 

Vice President Harris and Administrator Guzman discussed the challenges small business owners face with Tiara Flynn and Walt Rowen.   

Tiara Flynn is an entrepreneur and an Air Force veteran from Las Vegas, Nevada. As president and CEO of Sumnu Marketing, a minority business enterprise launched initially by her father, Tiara helps fellow small business owners access the marketing tools they need to grow. She's won numerous awards for her efforts to partner with other minority business enterprises. Sumnu Marketing received SBA assistance during the COVID pandemic through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL). 

Walt Rowen is an entrepreneur from Columbia, Pennsylvania, a rural community. Walt is the president of Susquehanna Glass, a family-owned and operated glass decorating business started more than 100 years ago by his uncle and grandfather with a single glass-cutting machine on the banks of the Susquehanna River. Walt has led the growth and expansion of the business to include extensive work in product development and sourcing and is proud to offer the "Made in America" sticker on most of his products and programs. Susquehanna Glass also received crucial relief during the pandemic from the SBA's Paycheck Protection Program. 

After the roundtable discussion with Vice President Harris and SBA Administrator Guzman, webinar guests also received economic aid updates from: 

  • Congressman Jason Crow (CO-6thCongressional District) 
  • Veronica Pugin, SBA Senior Advisor to the Office of Capital Access
  • Amy Lea, SBA District Director for Wyoming

SBA Senior Advisor to the Office of Capital Access Veronica Pugin provided SBA updates on the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (COVID-19 EIDL). COVID-19 EIDL is a borrower-friendly small business loan program to help small business owners, self-employed gig workers, and entrepreneurs restart and grow their small businesses. She highlighted dedicated new management resources to improve the program's delivery, processes, customer experience, and outreach to diverse communities. Substantive process upgrades have improved processing times for applicants by more than tenfold. 

Wyoming SBA District Director Amy Lea joined an in-depth question and answer session and provided detailed updates on low-interest disaster relief aid, through the American Rescue Plan, the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, and the new Paycheck Protection Program forgiveness process. She also discussed technical assistance that SBA district offices could provide to applicants.  

Congressman Jason Crow (CO-06) — a member of the U.S. House Small Business Committee — closed out the webinar emphasizing, "The COVID-19 pandemic inflicted a once-in-a-lifetime economic shock on our nation and hit our small businesses especially hard. Small businesses employ over one million Coloradans, make up over 97 percent of businesses in Colorado, and serve as the foundation of our economy. As a member of the House Small Business Committee, I look forward to our continued partnership with the Biden-Harris Administration to help small businesses recover quickly." 

Founder and President of the Public Private Strategies Institute Rhett Buttle 

said "Confidence in the economy is high, the recovery is getting stronger, and small business owners need a continued partner in their government as we build back better." 

SBA and PPSI organizers commented, "It was an honor to have Vice President Harris and SBA Administrator Guzman speak to this essential network of small business owners and leaders, and hear about the continued implementation of the Biden-Harris economic agenda. We will continue sharing information on access to capital, digital tools, and how small business owners can be vaccine leaders as we build a more equitable economy."  

SBA recommends applicants, interested parties, and qualified entities explore these additional resources for economic aid and vaccination information: 

Disclaimer:  Cosponsorship Authorization # 21-0501-14: The SBA's participation in this cosponsored activity is not an endorsement of the views, opinions, products, or services of any cosponsor or other person orentity. All SBA programs and services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis.


About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit