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On Wednesday, May 27, Axios Business Editor Dan Primack and Markets Reporter Courtenay Brown hosted a conversation on the future of small businesses with the owner and head chef of D.C.-based restaurant Kith and Kin Kwame Onwuachi and the author and co-owner of Parnassus Books Ann Patchett.

Onwuachi highlighted the limitations of the PPP loan for businesses and called for a restaurant stabilization fund to support workers and business owners in the service industry.

  • On the PPP loan: "It's a small Band-Aid on a large problem...And we need something to help [restaurants] restabilize. There's going to be a lot of costs that we're going to be incurring for reopening."
  • On access to PPP for restaurants run by immigrants or people of color: "They don't have those same relationships with their bankers and their accountants and their finance people in order to access those funds. Their names weren't put at the top of the list."

Patchett discussed how Parnassus Books has adapted to the current safety measures and how they're keeping customers and workers safe.

  • On reopening: "I don't think it's a gut thing [of when to decide to reopen], I think it's a science thing...It doesn't make any sense to be the leader in opening up a store where we could make our staff and our customers sick."
  • On how the bookstore model might change: "I think that if we have vaccines, we're going to be very much the same... [but] we do a lot of our business at big events. So that's really going to be the question. Are we going to be able to have those big author events?"

In a View from the Top segment, Axios CEO & Co-founder Jim VandeHei spoke with head of Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group Margaret Anadu about how small businesses can get financial support during this economically turbulent time. Anadu highlighted Goldman Sachs loan data that shows that African American business owners have not been able to apply for PPP loans at the same rate as other businesses.

  • "A lot of those disparities...did not materialize overnight. They're not specifically and only related to the pandemic we're currently in, but they really shine a light on the disparities that have been in these communities for a long time."

Thank you Goldman Sachs for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Updated Aug 27, 2020 - Axios Events

Watch: The future of employability and broadband

RNC week: Axios co-founder Mike Allen hosted a conversation on the future of broadband access, featuring House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, FIL founder Frank Luntz and Microsoft President Brad Smith.

Frank Luntz discussed the need for investment in accessible broadband as a key part of upskilling and job training, especially during the economically turbulent pandemic.

  • On the necessity of broadband access: "This is not a political issue. This is not a partisan issue. Elected officials on the federal and state and local level have a responsibility to provide these programs so that people are able to make a difference in their lives."

Brad Smith highlighted how rural areas are severely impacted by lack of broadband access and the need to close this divide.

  • "Broadband is the electricity of our age. If you want to use a telehealth service. you need broadband. If you want to take a community college course online, you need broadband...But in so many of our rural communities in the United States today, that is missing."

Unpacking the relationship between Silicon Valley and DC, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy discussed worries in Congress about Big Tech and the outsize impact that large tech companies have on the flow of information.

  • "Their power is only getting larger, and in the world of COVID, it's getting larger because they have more influence. But I don't think they're forthcoming on a lot, I have real concerns on what Google has been doing."

Thank you Microsoft for sponsoring this event.

18 mins ago - World

Jimmy Lai among Hong Kong pro-democracy leaders sentenced to prison

Students standing under a banner during a flag raising ceremony on the first annual National Security Education Day in Hong Kong. Photo: Vernon Yuen/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A Hong Kong court sentenced a group of pro-democracy activists to up to 18 months in prison Friday for organizing a massive unauthorized protest in August 2019 that drew an estimated 1.7 million people, AP reports.

Why it matters: Critics say the sentences send the message that even peaceful pro-democracy activism will be severely punished. They mark a continuation of Beijing's overhaul of Hong Kong's political structure, designed to crack down opposition to the Chinese Communist Party.

Local news moves to the inbox

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A slew of new companies are launching platforms for local newsletters, a shift that could help finally bring the local news industry into the digital era.

Driving the news: Substack, the email publishing platform for independent journalists, on Thursday announced a new local news platform.