Business Info For May 13, 2020

Business Impact Survey and Additional Language Support

Round Two of Business Impact Survey Now Open

OED released the second round of the  COVID-19 Business Impact Survey on May 7. The first round of the survey was open March 18 – 31 and saw over 5,000 total respondents—over 2,000 of which were businesses in Seattle. The first round of the survey established baseline profile data of the businesses, nonprofits, and independent workers in the Seattle region, captured the initial impact COVID-19 had on businesses, nonprofits, and independent workers in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties, and documented real-time concerns people had in an evolving environment.

Round two of the survey will build upon the initial survey questions to measure potential changes over time, seek to further understand operational changes business have implemented since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and evaluate the impact private and public funding have had on businesses’ ability to stay afloat. The survey has been translated into multiple languages to facilitate more participation by minority-owned businesses. It is now available in Amharic, Chinese – Traditional, English, Japanese, Korean, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

First-round survey participants will be encouraged to participate in round two; however, participation in round one is not required to complete the second round. The survey will be open until May 21, with the third and final round set to open by early June. Comprehensive data analysis, in which we track changes over time, will follow the completion of the third round of the Business Impact Survey. The analysis will look at data collected through the survey and external economic factors to develop recovery policies that support equitable economic development.

OED Provides Support in More Languages

For the last two months, OED has been fielding phone calls and emails from businesses requesting in-language assistance applying for Small Business Administration (SBA) loan programs. The influx of calls requesting in-language assistance has been so great that OED set up a new telephone menu/voicemail system to better serve business owners in first native language.  OED now supports customers who speak English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Mandarin, Cantonese, Somali, Amharic, and Korean.

SBA Technical Assistance and Business District Team Updates

This week has been very busy with a significant increase in calls for our SBA Technical Assistance team. Call volume increased recently because federal funding to replenish depleted resources, including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), was approved by Congress on April 27. We are working to help our small business constituents take advantage of these funds before they are exhausted.

 

The OED’s SBA team has fielded more than 350 referrals from small businesses, sole-proprietors, and nSBA Disaster Loan Technical Assistance webpage with information in nine languages to assist businesses applying for federal loans.