PPP loans open up for Chicago's smallest businesses

The administration is establishing a two-week window in which only businesses with fewer than 20 employees can apply for the forgivable loans.

Video Transcript

- An estimated 400,000 American small businesses closed in the last year, the loss felt more deeply in Black and Brown communities.

MALCOLM CRAWFORD: A lot of businesses that were teetering already, and this just helped push them over the edge.

- Malcolm Crawford is the executive director of the Austin African-American Business Networking Association. He's encouraged to hear of some help from the federal government.

MALCOLM CRAWFORD: Now there's an opportunity to-- to stay in business and to be able to grow your business.

- Today President Biden announced changes to the Payroll Protection Program that focuses on business owners shut out of the previous federal assistance and allowing businesses with fewer than 20 employees to apply first, starting this Wednesday.

JOE BIDEN: Small businesses are the engines of our economic progress. They're the glue and the heart and soul of our communities. But they're getting crushed.

BO STEINER: We aim to provide more resources to those smallest businesses that most need the resources and try to prevent more of those permanent closures.

- So will that be all? OK.

- The Uncle Remus restaurants are open in Chicagoland, but with major business model shifts from sit-down to takeout only. Owner Charmaine Rickette says three of the four stores got PPP money, and she hopes the fourth will have a chance now.

CHARMAINE RICKETTE: I believe that this time, the government is finally getting it. Because government is built-- they rely on-- they work with big business, but it's built on small business.

- And it's those small businesses that can make or break communities.