Envolve & Concordia COVID-19 Webinar with Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD)
New York, NY, April 30, 2020 – On April 28th, Envolve Entrepreneurship joined Concordia for their COVID-19 webinar series. This online series provides real-time COVID-19 updates and highlights innovative partnerships addressing and supporting the global response to the pandemic. This special webinar titled: “Protecting Small Businesses and The U.S. Economy” hosted Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Ranking Member of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee. Christopher R. Upperman, Board Member of Envolve Entrepreneurship, interviewed the Senator regarding the CARES Act and how it’s evolving to meet the needs of micro, small, and medium enterprises. The discussion was framed by opening remarks by the Hon. Jane Harman, former congresswoman and current President & CEO of The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and Concordia Leadership Council Member and welcome remarks from Nicholas Logothetis, Executive Board Member of the Libra Group and Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board of Concordia.
Senator Cardin’s remarks on the $2.7 trillion CARES Act stimulus package, focused on three of its main instruments: The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance (EIDL), and the Loan Forgiveness Program. Christopher Upperman and Senator Cardin discussed key issues surrounding the structure and arrangement of the CARES Act as well as addressed important questions about its execution. Senator Cardin urged business owners and individuals to look into the combination of different resources available to maximize and personalize the aid they can receive. He also mentioned three action items that in his opinion are crucial next steps:
Address the lack of financial solutions for mid-sized companies employing between 500-1000 employees that have similar liquidity challenges as small businesses but fewer federal safety nets.
Deploy greater and more rapid support for smaller businesses especially in terms of loan distribution to ensure that the underbanked and underserved can access these federal programs.
Planning ahead of time and building resiliency for future health and economic turbulences should be a key priority.
The unique health and economic challenges the country is facing require, now more than ever before, collaboration. Non-partisan, cross-party, and cross-sector partnerships are vital to the success of the pandemic response on all fronts. As Senator Cardin stated: “We really do want to work together. We want to get things done. We didn’t get elected to the U.S. Senate and Congress in order to throw partisan jobs at each other—we did this in order to solve problems.” Passage of the CARES Act in a 96 – 0 vote in the Senate demonstrates what can be accomplished by working across the aisle and Senator Cardin alluded to a number of compromises that were made, resulting in both the stimulus check program and the expansion of unemployment insurance. The CARES Act was designed as a rapid response to aid individuals, businesses, hospitals, and state and local governments and many of the relief programs are oversubscribed due to high demand. Senator Cardin acknowledged the state of need across the country and alluded to future funding chapters as need arises, with the next package likely being “state focused.”
This spirit of collaboration and partnership is a guiding light for Envolve as we strive to engage partners and stakeholders in the ecosystem in order to better serve our community of entrepreneurs. At this time we are committed to helping small business owners and entrepreneurs find and understand the COVID-19 relief resources that are available. We would encourage you to participate in Envolve’s COVID-19 Small Business Owner & Entrepreneur Concerns Survey. As part of our advocacy efforts, we have been working to collect small business owners’ experiences, challenges, and concerns dealing with COVID-19 pandemic and navigating the CARES Act programs. These responses will have a direct impact on the steps the federal government is taking to aid businesses during the crisis and gives founders an avenue to advocate for their business and influence policy!