Sustaining Small Business
Small businesses are the cornerstone of DC's economy. They provide our families with opportunities to build wealth, center the culture of our neighborhoods, and generate jobs in our community. I'm dedicated to helping DC's small businesses become more resilient to long-standing systemic barriers that make growing and sustaining a small business possible. My dad was a small business owner for thirty years. He worked years before starting his business until he had enough money and know-how to launch his own construction company specializing in laying concrete foundations. He had his share of struggles with navigating city regulations, obtaining city contracts as a small, minority business, and securing money to purchase equipment.
Today, our entrepreneurs in DC face new challenges like dealing with the impact of COVID-19, but some of the challenges my dad faced are the same challenges entrepreneurs face today. This is an opportunity to take intentional steps to eliminate economic barriers so our small businesses recover equitably and are primed for long-term success, like having greater access to capital and technical assistance, fair access to contracting and procurement opportunities, and less-burdensome government permitting and licensing processes.
I will work to:
Support our small businesses' recovery from the pandemic. Businesses, especially those in the hospitality industry, face extraordinary challenges with government-mandated shutdowns and capacity restrictions while also struggling to pay rent, serve customers in new capacities, and protect the safety of their workers and the public. DC must continue to work with business owners to offer resources and support to rebuild equitably.
Promote minority and women-owned businesses' access to grants and loans from small community banks that can more effectively target underserved populations. Find creative opportunities to reduce the rent burden for small businesses. I believe public land should be for public use. Allocating ground floor space of publicly owned land to small, locally-owned businesses and activities that promote community vibrancy like arts, child care, health clinics, and healthy and affordable food options makes sense.
Increase technical assistance for small business owners to help navigate grant and loan programs and city regulations, including prioritizing sole proprietors and business sectors where minority businesses are heavily concentrated.
Streamline the small business permitting and licensing process so small businesses can be established quickly and efficiently.
Promote fair contracting processes that help close the racial wealth gap, center community wealth-building, and enforce procurement and contracting regulations to improve program compliance and reduce improper contract awards and payments. DC taxpayers deserve to get the best value for their tax dollars and know that businesses owned by minorities and women have a fair chance at winning city contracts.