• Charlotte Small Business Coalition

    Mission: To advocate for public policies that promote the utilization of and reliance upon the private sector by government at all levels through fair and equitable access for all small business owners under fifty employees in Charlotte Mecklenburg.

  • As part of the Small Business Recovery Task Force, Council members James Mitchell, Julie Eiselt, Tariq Bokhari, and Dimple Ajmera worked with community leaders to come up with a plan to allocate CARES Act funding to small businesses. At its May 26 meeting, the Council unanimously supported a $35 million-package to provide grants to Charlotte small businesses. Motivated by data that the CSBC captured in its Giving Voice to Small Businesses survey and through a hotline, City Council and staff recognized that businesses with 25 or fewer employees have been mostly shut out of COVID-19 relief efforts. (PDF)

  • About the Charlotte Small Business Coalition

    Even prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, local leaders started forming the CSBC. As a coalition, the CSBC further unifies the many member organizations serving Charlotte area businesses. Focusing specifically on the needs of companies with fewer than 50 employees and those who are self-employed, the CSBC amplifies the voices of those in the coalition in order to ensure that policymakers better understand the unique challenges and collective strengths of Charlotte’s small business community.

     

    In mid April, the CSBC launched a survey to engage owners of small businesses and those who are self employed. By early May, nearly 350 people from myriad small businesses in Charlotte participated in the survey, providing insight into their experiences navigating the COVID-19 economy, their acute and long-term needs, and their immediate and long-term concerns.

    Survey: Giving Voice to Small Business

    On April 13, the CSBC launched a survey to engage owners of businesses with fewer than 50 employees as well as those who are self-employed.
     

    Survey Objectives:

    Myriad small businesses in Charlotte are facing unprecedented challenges. Overall, the survey seeks to capture and reflect the experiences of small businesses and those who are self-employed by prompting participants to assess the challenges in sustaining their businesses.

     

    More specifically, the survey:

    Ascertains the impacts that COVID-19 and stay-in-place policies have had on business

    • Identifies opportunities for assistance targeted at small businesses and the self-employed
    • Assesses perspectives for future challenges as the economy reopens

    Survey Highlights (as of May 3)

    • 331 people completed the survey, nearly half (163) of whom identified as self-employed.
    • 65% of participants are part of businesses that include female ownership.
    • 25% identified as having African-Americans, Asian-Americans or Lantinx/Hispanic among the ownership.
    • On a 6-point scale, 61% believe COVID has “thoroughly” (6 stars) had a negative impact on their business, while another 18% selected 5 stars.
    • 56% believe the negative impact will increase for the remainder of FY2020.
    • When identifying the causes for COVID’s negative impact on the economy, 70% ranked clientele’s restrictions/limited access to their products/services as #1 or #2.
    • 55% had applied for PPP (4% accepted), 54% for EIDL Loan Advance (2% accepted)
    • Of those who applied for assistance, 52% believe the financial assistance is “vitally important” (6 on a 6-point scale) for the well-being of the business.
    • 81% believe it is “vitally important” for city, county, state government to assist small businesses.
    • Huge majorities want priorities placed on speeding up the process for receiving payment, extending the period of time for which assistance is available, and simplifying the process.

    Emerging Narrative

    Owners of small businesses in Charlotte (including those self-employed) are experiencing challenges similar to an epic natural disaster. Many are still in immediate survivability mode, assessing and living with ongoing damage. And even as the acute impacts of the disaster subside and aspects of the pre-COVID environment return, the challenges will not subside for small businesses. It is akin to rebuilding with a slew of additional code requirements. Entrepreneurial grit and innovation can address these obstacles only so much.

     

    Pre-COVID there were more than 30,000 small businesses in Charlotte — cumulatively, by far the largest sources of employment in the region. They are like the homes destroyed and severely damaged in a damaged in a natural disaster. How many will be allowed an equitable opportunity to emerge and rebuild?