WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, during a hearing of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) spoke with small business lenders and owners – including Iman McFarland, Chief Operations Officer and Co-Owner of 21st Century Expo Group, Inc. – about funding and providing greater access to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) enhancing emergency financial support to small businesses through her EIDL for Small Businesses Act, and ensuring safe indoor air-quality for small businesses. A transcript of the Senator’s full exchange can be found below, and a video of the Senator’s full exchange can be found here.
ROSEN: We are hearing today about the small businesses and how the coronavirus pandemic has put millions of Americans out of work. Millions of people are out of work.
Of course, I’m fighting like everyone else for a second round of PPP for our struggling small businesses, direct support to restaurants and live entertainment, help for our hospitality and tourism industry, of course very important in Nevada – it’s the backbone of our economy. And it’s why I just introduced, along with Senator Cornyn, legislation to provide direct relief to all of our small businesses – the EIDL for Small Businesses Act. This bipartisan bill would lift the SBA’s cap on both EIDL loans and EIDL Advance grants that we’ve been talking about. It would provide all eligible small businesses with loans up to $2 million and the full $10,000 grants, regardless of size. And it would replenish the EIDL and EIDL Advance accounts by $180 billion.
As everyone has been discussing, EIDL and PPP have worked together to take care of our businesses. But, we need more flexibility with the PPP, and I hope we’re going to continue to do that.
Ms. McFarland, I know that your business received EIDL funding early on, before the SBA put on these arbitrary caps that we’re trying to lift. If your business had not received the full EIDL loan that you were eligible for – $490,000 dollars, and instead only received [the SBA capped amount of] $150,000, how would it have affected your business if you had this cap placed on you?
MCFARLAND: I would be sitting here today telling a much darker story had we been capped at that $150,000. Because we did not have that cap, we were able to produce a dream that my parents and I put together, to not only allow our business to survive, but allow our community to also thrive. Those funds were crucial in the rehiring of our staff, the paying of our rent. Our rent alone is $36,000, and we had a gracious landlord that allowed us to reduce our rent during the summer. That extension ended around October, and so, those funds were also able to cover those expenses as well. But, all of those funds were exhausted at the end of October. And so, I implore Congress to provide an influx of funding as soon as possible so that we can continue to be of service to our community and our employees.
ROSEN: Thank you, I want to follow up a little bit on that, because we need to be sure that when we support all of our businesses that [we ensure] consumer confidence, where people feel safe going back indoors; to a restaurant, to a venue, to a hotel, a casino, movie theater, whatever it is you’re doing. I want to be sure that we provide businesses with funding, not just for PPE technologies, but other technologies that might make our indoor spaces more safe, like increased ventilation, tax credits for that, upgrading your H-VAC, and some of those things. So, have you incorporated any systems like that, or how would that help you if we were able to give you support to upgrade your ventilation systems so that people might feel more confident about the air they’re breathing indoors?
MCFARLAND: Absolutely, our main priority is the safety and health of our customers, the kids that come through our doors, our employees, my parents. So, we’ve already taken the sacrifice to invest in expensive technology and equipment to ensure the safety of the participants that come into our facility. We’ve hired another small business to clean our facility ten hours a day. They clean and sanitize between uses of the basketball facility. We’ve also updated our H-VAC system which was a large expense, but we knew we had to commit to that because we’re committing to our community wholeheartedly. So, having funding to continue to invest in those safety precautions would be incredible.
ROSEN: Thank you, I appreciate everything you’re doing, and hopefully, we’re going to be able to provide some kind of help to allow businesses to upgrade to make all spaces safe going forward.