Small business owners testify before Congress about COVID-19 impact

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Members of the U.S. Senate Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee heard testimony Wednesday from small business owners impacted by COVID-19.

"It's bad out there,” said Joe Shamess, co-founder of Flags of Valor.

The company makes wooden products to showcase flags and has employed thousands of veterans, according to Shamess’ testimony.

"In early March, we woke up one day to have two-thirds of our revenue gone,” Shamess said.

Shamess added that the company received one of the loans issued from the Paycheck Protection Program [PPP].

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"You are saving businesses with that program,” Shamess said. “No doubt. We are one of them. But I have to say the government support is not going to be enough. Not that we need more government support, per say, but that we as business owners have to innovate our way through this.”

Representatives from the industry also discussed the need to give more help to minority-owned businesses who are struggling to get assistance from the already over-burdened system.

"Economic opportunities for all communities, including entrepreneurial opportunity, will help heal these deep wounds,” said Connie Evans, President and CEO of Association for Enterprise.

Last week, the House passed a bill that gives more flexibility for loan forgiveness for recipients of the PPP. It’s now pending in the Senate.

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