Last month, Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), was joined by Congressman Andy Kim, a member of the House Committee on Small Business, and township officials for her first in-person visit in New Jersey.
Guzman and Kim held a full small business roundtable at Olga’s Diner in Marlton, which was able to maintain workers and keep operations running throughout the pandemic thanks to SBA pandemic economic aid programs such as a COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) award and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
The SBA provides 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. The administration delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations.
Joining Guzman and Kim at the diner were local small business owners, Marlene Cintron (SBA Regional Administrator), John Blackstock (SBA New Jersey District Director) and Evesham Township Mayor Jackie Veasy and Councilman Eddie Freeman III.
Guzman cited the American Rescue Plan for helping small businesses in the country. The plan provides emergency grants, lending and investment to hard-hit small businesses so they can rehire and retain workers and also purchase the health and sanitation equipment they need to keep their workers safe.
“Thanks to the American Rescue Plan and the actions of the Biden-Harris Administration,” she said. ”Communities in New Jersey and across the country experienced a historic economic recovery with record job growth and small business creation.”
Guzman noted that continuing to assist small businesses remains a primary concern for her and Kim. She also said she will continue supporting local businesses as they are essential to improving the country’s economy.
“Building on that strong foundation to help small business owners grow and succeed in today’s COVID-disrupted marketplace is a top priority I share with Rep. Andy Kim,” Guzman said.
“We look forward to working together to continue to strengthen supply chains and bring costs down for entrepreneurs in New Jersey and across America so that they can focus on what they do best: creating local jobs and fueling stable economic growth.”
The roundtable highlighted the positive impact that President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act has had on local economies, with the federal officials engaging in a conversation with local small business owners, small business community leaders and local community leaders at the eatery.
Several participants also shared their individual stories, specifically focused on recovery from the pandemic thanks to the administration’s resources.
Congressman Kim emphasized the importance of small businesses in the Garden State.
“Small businesses are the lifeblood of New Jersey’s economy,” he said. “As the only member of the New Jersey delegation on the Small Business Committee, I’ve worked hard to be a champion for our small businesses, (including) helping more than 10,000 access valuable resources and capital to keep them afloat during the pandemic, identifying growth opportunities, and cutting bureaucratic red tape.”
Kim expressed gratitude to Guzman for attending the round table at Olga’s Diner and listening to local small business owners in-person.
“I want to thank SBA Administrator Guzman for joining me in Burlington County to hear directly from small business leaders in our community about their frustrations, aspirations, and needs,” Kim added.
“I appreciated the opportunity to show (Guzman) some of the local businesses that make this community so special,” he said.
”I look forward to continuing these conversations and ensuring we’re doing all we can for New Jersey’s small businesses.”
To learn more about the Small Business Association, visit www.sba.gov.