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On Tuesday, May 4, Axios markets reporter Courtenay Brown, editor-in-chief Nicholas Johnston and business reporter Hope King unpacked how local businesses and policymakers are working to build a sustainable and lasting economic recovery from the pandemic, featuring Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), LA County Supervisor Holly Mitchell and Eso Won Books co-owner James Fugate.

Rep. Judy Chu unpacked how government can support small businesses through effective policymaking, and highlighted the inequities in the PPP loan process.

  • "I am very concerned about the disparities...The Latino [population] got loans at half the rate of the regular population, and the Black population was only able to get it by about three-quarters of what whites were able to."

Holly Mitchell discussed Los Angeles Country's progressive approach to supporting women and minority-owned businesses and strengthening the relationship between banks and small, community-based businesses.

  • "Equity must be the lens through which we look at investment, recognizing the disproportionate impact communities of color have had as a result of this virus."

James Fugate described how the push to purchase from Black-owned businesses following the murder of George Floyd impacted his store, as well as as others in Los Angeles.

  • "Not only did it offset the decline in the business, but we ended up having one of the best years we've ever had...that is what set in motion this great surge at stores like ours and others."

Axios co-founder and CEO Jim VandeHei hosted a View from the Top Segment with Wells Fargo CEO and president Charlie Scharf discussed how small businesses make up the backbone of the economy in cities like Los Angeles, and the importance of large institutions being good community parters.

  • "93% percent of Los Angeles businesses have fewer than 20 employees, which is just striking. It's just the reality that Los Angeles is home to so many small and micro-businesses. And so we recognize that there is a tremendous amount that we have to do."

Thank you Wells Fargo for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

HR software company Gusto raises $175 million

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Gusto, a San Francisco-based payroll and HR software company, raised $175 million at a $9.5 billion valuation led by T. Rowe Price.

Why it matters: There is no better sign of a labor market roaring back than demand for payroll software.

Updated 9 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a powerful and potentially historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring an array of hazards, from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten coastal property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

Republican-led Pennsylvania court deems mail-in voting law unconstitutional

Workers count ballots for the 2020 Presidential election at the Philadelphia Convention Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Nov. 3, 2020. Photo: Hannah Yoon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Republican-led Pennsylvania court on Friday ruled that the state's mail-in voting law is unconstitutional.

Driving the news: Three Republican judges sided with Republican challengers and ruled that no-excuse mail-in voting is prohibited under the state's constitution. Two Democrats on the panel dissented.