Challenges and Opportunities for Pursuing Equitable Distribution of Small Business Relief
What was the challenge?
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has strategic goals to support small business revenue and job growth and restore small businesses after disasters. As part of these goals, the SBA wants to know what strategies it can implement to help women, minority, and other underserved entrepreneurs recover from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. A great deal of federal COVID-19 relief funding was disbursed at the local level, and SBA’s partnership with the Office of Evaluation Sciences (OES) allows it to better understand local community-based approaches to helping small businesses.
What did we do?
Between January and July 2021, OES talked to local officials in several cities, as well as to individual “mentors” and groups that provided technical assistance to small business relief funding applicants, about funding distributed into early 2021. These conversations followed up on work done to produce an earlier report that had outlined challenges for local governments setting up relief programs.
What did we learn?
OES drew on conversations with local officials and others to produce a report summarizing what cities found challenging in disbursing small business relief, as well as strategies they believed helped them do so more equitably. The report also identifies the topics most in need of stronger evidence, including outreach, technical assistance, and documentation burdens. The report describes several ways evidence on these topics could be built.