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On Wednesday, June 23, Axios political reporter Hans Nichols and managing editor for business Aja Whitaker-Moore unpacked how businesses have adapted to an unprecedented year, featuring Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Piroshky Piroshky owner Olga Sagan.

Sen. Murray discussed Congress's efforts to support small businesses, specifically through federal paid family leave and investing in child care as key parts of economic recovery.

  • On federal paid family leave as economic support for business: "We are making sure that people have access to paid family leave as a federal benefit so the small employer is not in charge of it...So it doesn't have an impact on the [business's] bottom line."
  • How the pandemic highlighted the importance of child care for small businesses: "I can't tell you how many people have said to me in the last year that child care is the one issue that is keeping their family from being [economically] stable."

Olga Sagan unpacked how she used digital tools to bring a store online, adapted her business model during the pandemic, and how she connected the small business community in Seattle.

  • How the pandemic immediately changed Sagan's approach to connecting with customers: "Seattle was one of the first cities to be hit by this pandemic. And definitely, businesses downtown were the first ones to really feel it...We realized that we have to change our ways. And changing our ways was going digital and connecting with our customers online."
  • On making a brick and mortar business digital-first: "You have to apply a completely different skill set...You have to learn digital media and there's so much to learn. I felt like I was starting a whole new business from scratch."

Axios Vice President of Growth Mia Vallo hosted a View from the Top Segment with the Vice President of the Small Business Group at Facebook Rich Rao who discussed trends for small businesses, how they pivoted during the pandemic, and what economic recovery looks like.

  • "Small business owners are resilient and they are forward-looking. We found from our survey that most small businesses—nearly 70 % of the US—reported confidence in their own ability to stay open over the next six months. And that's despite everything that's happened. That is the much-needed and really good news for our main streets everywhere."

Thank you Facebook for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Executives say the pandemic opens their eyes to complex risks

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

A new survey of more than 800 CEOS and C-suite executives finds that while a vast majority are optimistic about business conditions in a year, they are also much more cognizant of complex risks beyond the pandemic, such as climate change.

Driving the news: The new survey, conducted by the global professional services firm Aon from Aug. 3 to Sept. 4, consists of findings from interviews with business leaders.

3 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes mix-and-match for COVID booster shots

Photo: Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) on Wednesday gave its approval for Americans to get booster shots that are different from the COVID vaccine they initially received.

Why it matters: The recommendation from the FDA, which also authorized booster shots for people who received Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines on Wednesday, paves the way for an expansion of booster shots.

GOP congressman forfeits committee seats after indictment

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) on Wednesday stepped down from his committee assignments after being indicted for lying to federal investigators amid a probe into illegal campaign donations.

What they're saying: In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Fortenberry said he is "grateful for the outpouring of support from my friends and colleagues as we work against the injustice confronting me."