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On Thursday July 9, Axios hosted the second of a series of six events on small business recovery across America. National political reporter Alexi McCammond and markets editor Dion Rabouin lead conversations with California's Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis, Stockton, Calif. Mayor Michael Tubbs and Cupcakin' Bake Shop Founder Lila Owens to discuss small business in California.

Mayor Michael Tubbs unpacked the impact that coronavirus has had on Stockton, Calif. and various financial programs being put in place to support business owners and people in the community.

  • On whether $27 million from the CARES Act for the city is sufficient: "It's a lot more than zero dollars, but definitely not enough money given the need...We understand that this pandemic won't be over in a month, or 3 months or 5 months when the money has to be spent."
  • On the most effective form of financial support: "What's working for both our small businesses and the residents has been direct cash assistance...We have to have [financial assistance] that's going to last as long as this crisis that provides folks the agency to make decisions."

Cupcakin' Bake Shop Founder Lila Owens discussed her experience as a small business owner and how she's leaning more on digital tools and delivery services in business operations.

  • On the return of business after the initial downturn: "Even in a pandemic, you still have a birthday. You still have an anniversary...It's almost like you want something celebratory just to remind you of life's normalcies."
  • How she has offset revenue from walk-in traffic: "We post the cities and the flavors that we're going to have for the next day and make it more convenient as opposed to calling or sending an online order. [Customers] are able to send us a direct message through Instagram to place their order."

California's Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis announced the 'Calling All Californians' initiative, which matches up small businesses with large companies like Google, GoDaddy and Nextdoor to provide free services like web hosting and advertising. She also highlighted state-level services that are in place to help businesses.

  • On the coronavirus' impact on jobs in California: "We’ve had about 5.2 million people go on unemployment who weren’t there before. PPP can help small [business] keep their employees in jobs."
  • Why the relationships between small businesses and their banks are vital: "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."

Thank you Facebook for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

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.

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.

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.