We’ve devoted considerable space in our pages recently to how our communities are using funds they’ve received from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The topic clearly warrants that high-profile attention. River Journal contributors Rob Abbot and Mackey Landy did yeoman’s work reporting and writing the in-depth articles.
To continue that conversation, so to speak, we’re sharing here what could be considered supplemental study material.
It’s called Small Business’s Big Moment. It comes from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR). The report’s author, Kennedy Smith, lists a dozen recommendations on how to deploy ARPA funds to help small businesses, thus strengthening the economic health of a community.
Here’s a vestpocket version of the report’s 12 proposed remedies…
- Build a strong infrastructure to cultivate, grow, and support small businesses through strategic investments in training, coaching, and finance.
- Close the racial entrepreneurship gap. Entrepreneurs of color should have as much access to banking relationships as white and male business owners.
- Develop grocery stores in underserved communities. Economically distressed areas have difficulty supporting large supermarkets.
- Cultivate small-scale manufacturing and local and regional supply chains. Light industry creates good jobs that build wealth.
- Improve small business procurement policies and practices. Funnel more contracts to locally owned businesses.
- Buy commercial property and place it in a community land trust. Repurpose empty storefronts by renting affordable space to small businesses.
- Create local delivery services. Push back against third-party delivery apps that are eating the profits of restaurants.
- Promote small businesses and shopping small. Use ARPA funds to create marketing initiatives.
- Capitalize a publicly owned bank. Make more money available for small business loans commercial banks deny.
- Support employee business ownership. Keeps companies alive, helps business owners retire comfortably, and builds wealth for worker-owners.
- Improve broadband access for small businesses. Just make sure to leave no stone unturned when it comes researching information like ADSL Broadband prices. A robust online presence is crucial in today’s marketplace.
- Invest in commercial district improvements that help small businesses. Create a shopper-friendly environment that stimulates spending.
Admittedly, some of these prescriptions, while hopeful-sounding, might also appear facile, such as No. 6. But they also are innovative and enterprising, and certainly worth the modest space we’re giving them here. For the full report > ilsr.org.