Photo: Axios Events.

Small businesses face a daunting shift from storefront to online to adapt to the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, but the Paycheck Protection Program and government outreach could help, California Lt. Gov. Elani Kounalakis said at an Axios virtual event on Thursday.

What she's saying: Small businesses, including those owned by people of color, often lack the resources that larger companies do to shift to digital operations.

  • "In California we’ve had about 5.2 million people go on unemployment who weren’t there before. PPP can help small biz keep their employees in jobs," Kounalakis said.

But the PPP extension and government outreach to small business owners could help, the lieutenant governor said. Kounalakis also said California's government is working to partner big businesses with smaller companies to help guide them through the transition towards digital.

  • "Big banks went to their customers to encourage them to apply for PPP, but small businesses that use small banks didn't have that boost. "[A] lot of small businesses really had trouble accessing that," Kounalakis said.
  • "Many small businesses, particularly if they’re in communities of color, they don’t know we’re here. They don’t know where to find us. And so a big part of what we’re trying to do now around California is really get the word out."

Go deeper

3. Minority-led SMBs turn to digital tools because of lack of funding

Small businesses owned by minorities were more likely to make the most out of digital tools during COVID-19, according to the Digitally Driven study.

Why it’s important: These minority-owned businesses that quickly adapted to the new normal and have a higher comfort level with digital tools have become more focused on long-term business goals through the pandemic.

4. SMBs need more time

Capital and technical assistance are critical, but so is time.

Why it’s important: Thought leaders agreed that knowing or having access to the technology is not enough if these businesses don’t have the time to actually implement those technological strategies.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
Oct 13, 2020 - Economy & Business

The winners of the stay-at-home economy

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The coronavirus pandemic has created a stay-at-home economy worth trillions.

The big picture: While the pandemic is killing scores of businesses that depend on office workers, it's also making way for startups and titans alike to conquer a new industry — powering our remote lives.