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Small businesses & COVID-19: Supporting firms at risk of failure

Thursday, September 17, 2020

More than 400,000 U.S. small businesses are estimated to have failed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite a range of approaches taken by the federal government to support firms through shutdowns—including loans, payroll support, and grants—hundreds of thousands of additional small businesses are at risk of failing. If the federal government does not develop a cohesive, robust policy solution to counter reduced consumer demand, the continued devastation of small businesses will slow the economic recovery, worsen labor market conditions, and weaken productivity growth for years to come.

On Thursday, September 17, The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution hosted a webcast discussion examining the federal government’s efforts to support small businesses during COVID-19. The event coincided with the release of a Hamilton Project analysis of the current economic situation, as well as a paper by Steven Hamilton (The George Washington University) proposing policies tailored to the needs of struggling small businesses. The policies balance the needs of severely affected firms, the reality that support will be needed for some time, and the desire to avoid windfalls for better-off firms.

The webcast event featured welcome remarks from The Hamilton Project director Wendy Edelberg and framing remarks by Senator Ben Cardin, Ranking Member, U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. It will also include a panel discussion with: Steven Hamilton, Assistant Professor of Economics, The George Washington University; R. Glenn Hubbard, Dean Emeritus; Russell L. Carson Professor of Finance and Economics, Columbia Business School; Thomas Sullivan, Vice President, Small Business Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Luz Urrutia, CEO, Opportunity Fund; and Roger Altman, Founder and Senior Chairman, Evercore.

For updates on the event, follow @HamiltonProj. Join the conversation using #CovidEconomy to ask questions or email [email protected].


2:30 p.m. Welcome

Wendy Edelberg
Director, The Hamilton Project; Senior Fellow, Economic Studies, The Brookings Institution

2:40 p.m. Framing Remarks

The Honorable Ben Cardin
Ranking Member, U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship

3:00 p.m. Roundtable Discussion

Steven Hamilton
Assistant Professor of Economics, The George Washington University

R. Glenn Hubbard
Dean Emeritus; Russell L. Carson Professor of Finance and Economics; Director, Jerome A. Chazen Institute for Global Business, Columbia Business School

Thomas M. Sullivan
Vice President, Small Business Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Luz Urrutia
CEO, Opportunity Fund

Moderator: Roger C. Altman
Founder and Senior Chairman, Evercore

3:45 p.m. Webcast adjourns

Webinar Event

Online Chat


Follow @hamiltonproj and see the conversation using #CovidEconomy


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