Apr 24, 2020 - Axios Events

Small Business Matters: The path to recovery

On Thursday morning, Axios Co-founder Mike Allen hosted a conversation on small business recovery during the coronavirus pandemic with Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Suzanne Clark, EQtainment founder Sofia Dickens, and a View from the Top segment between Axios CEO & Co-founder Jim VandeHei and Intuit QuickBooks EVP and GM Alex Chriss.

Sofia Dickens discussed the importance of teaching kids adaptability and resilience and underscored the challenges that small businesses face in the wake of coronavirus.

  • On the limitations of the current education system: “In a lot of ways through our education system, we teach kids what to think, instead of how to think…It’s important, because there’s so much insecurity about the future job market for them, that we teach them problem-solving skills.”
  • On how long small businesses can stay afloat: "I don't have an optimistic answer there. The government's been patting themselves on the back for filling a one-month hole in the economy and taking two months to do it. I think in the next 30 to 60 days, we're gonna see a lot of small businesses fail and it's gonna be tough...This is going to be a several-year process. And we're gonna have to start really reinventing ourselves and looking to see how we can help each other."

In his View from the Top segment with Jim VandeHei, Alex Chriss highlighted the current problems of PPP:

  • On how much he thinks the federal government's going to have to put forward: "I'm not sure how much more they will need, but I do think we're gonna have to reconsider how the program is structured...We're talking about businesses that have 20 to 50 employees getting the loans where the vast majority of our small businesses are less than 10 or even less than five employees. Those are the ones that structurally need it, but that the system isn't really set up for...Banks aren't there to cover the smallest."

U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Suzanne Clark discussed the integral role of small business in the community and how they're trying to stay afloat.

  • On small business owners who are affected by the pandemic: "They know firsthand what a job means to a family, a community, health outcomes...they’re worried about how they reopen in a way that’s safe and sustainable."
  • On how government can assist small businesses: "I think they're going to have to do at least another 250 billion. But what's really going to be enough is we're going to have to reopen. We're free enterprise people. So we don't think this is going to be government aid and assistance forever. We've got to help people who are in real pain right now. And then we have to sensibly and safely reopen so that Americans have access to their paychecks again. "

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) answered questions about the possibility of additional PPP funding and how the government can mitigate current concerns.

  • On another round of PPP funding: "There's no question that we know we haven’t met the need yet...[but] I don't know that I would have a lot of confidence in seeing that happen between now and May 4."
  • On using 9/11 as an example on coronavirus liability: "You've got liability exposures bringing your employees back and bringing your customers in. That's a liability issue that I'm not sure how we meet that need — 9/11 may be one of the places that we go for that conversation."

Thank you Intuit Quickbooks for sponsoring this event.

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