VOICES: Xenia company example of small business ‘grit’ and how SBA has helped

Archive photo July 12, 2010: Jim Martin, then 89 and of Sugarcreek Twp., jumped into the night sky over France as a young man in the 101st Airborne on D-Day, dodging anti-aircraft fire and enemy radar at a mere 400 feet. On Sunday, July 11, Martin took a leap hooked to Bob Tyson, a jump master at Skydive Greene County from a safer 12,500 feet.

Credit: Contributed photo by Maggie Tyson, Skydive Greene County

Credit: Contributed photo by Maggie Tyson, Skydive Greene County

Entrepreneurs and small business owners are often recognized for their grit, perseverance and jack-of-all-trades abilities to get the job done and succeed. Over the past six months, these traits could be not have been any stronger as they endured the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and adjusted to survive.

Since March, our nation has experienced significant changes in how we function, from social interaction to business operations and beyond, and including our country’s economic engine – small businesses.

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The unprecedented pandemic has required an extraordinary response. Via a bi-partisan effort with President Trump’s support and leadership and, true to the agency’s mission, the U.S. Small Business Administration took on the monumental task of saving America’s small businesses.

Rob Scott, regional administrator U.S. Small Business Administration Great Lakes Region. He is also a Kettering councilman.

In just about one week, the SBA activated the successful Paycheck Protection Program and delivered more PPP loans than the agency had guaranteed in total in its 68-year history. Here in Ohio approximately 149,000 small businesses and non-profits accessed more than $18.5 billion in forgivable PPP loans through delegated lenders to keep their employees on payroll, pay bills, and continue operations as best they could. Small businesses also are tapping SBA’s direct lending program through our Office of Disaster Assistance. As of mid-August, they’ve secured approximately 3.6 million COVID-19-related Economic Injury Disaster Loans totaling $188 billion across the nation, including more than 81,000 totaling nearly $4 billion here in Ohio. And, this program remains open for application.

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These numbers, though, only tell part of the story, for its more than financial capital keeping these businesses afloat. There’s also human capital – the more than 5,500 delegated lenders and invaluable SBA resource partners that dug in with the small but mighty SBA team across the nation to provide a lifeline via tens of thousands of virtual trainings, phone calls, adjusted balance sheets and altered business plans to these small businesses. And, the workers, the families and customers that remain supportive throughout it all.

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A local example is Skydive Greene County in Xenia. Our local SBA district office worked with their owner Kelly West in order to assist them in keeping their 31 employees during the Covid-19 Pandemic crisis and Ohio shutdown orders. It was imperative for the SBA office to help keep Skydive Greene County, one of the oldest skydiving companies in the U.S. going and vibrant. The SBA has treated all businesses in this same manner.

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This pandemic is not the first hurdle entrepreneurs have had to overcome and it won’t be the last. The SBA stands by our dedication to the success our nation’s small businesses, the innovation they deliver, and the tens of millions they employ. Their entrepreneurial spirit that we know so well and admire has allowed them to react, reshape and innovate. And, with the challenge to persevere being stronger now more than ever, we are unified with them as we look to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, adjust to a new normal (and come out better), and move toward a stronger economy.

This week marks the SBA’s National Small Business Week, which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. This year is one unlike the half-century that has come before. his year’s NSBW will recognize the small businesses who have navigated the coronavirus pandemic while supporting their employees and communities.

I encourage those seeking assistance with access to capital, guidance on adjusting operations, and next steps, to visit www.sba.gov, reach out to one of our offices or find training and program updates on Twitter at @SBAGreatLakes.

Robert Scott, a Kettering councilman and former vice mayor, serves as the regional administrator for the Great Lakes Region of the U.S. Small Business Administration, overseeing the delivery of the agency’s financial assistance, technical assistance and government contracting activities throughout Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

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