Councilor Mejia has filed this order with Councilors Arroyo and Wu to examine the accessibility of smallbusiness outreach during and beyond COVID-19
BOSTON,July 8, 2020 – In today’s Boston City Council meeting, Councilor Mejia, alongsideCouncilors Arroyo and Wu, introduced their latest hearing order to ensure the City of Boston is doingtheir due diligence in supporting small businesses.
According to The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, “the city of Boston alone is home to more than40,000 small businesses that generate more than $15 billion in annual revenue and employ 170,000people.” Since the outbreak of COVID-19, historically under-represented business communities havefaced significant challenges including lost wages and revenue and strains on mental health due to socialdistancing. The Mayor’s Office of Economic Development conducted outreach to understandCOVID-19’s impact on small businesses which led to the establishment of a Small Business Relief Fund.This fund provided $2,500 to $10,000 loans to businesses that met certain parameters.
“We can’t risk putting ourselves in a position where we are learning what we could have done right,”Councilor Mejia said. “We need to better understand what ‘outreach’ truly means: Which neighborhoodswere activated during this outreach, how many languages were offered, what follow-ups were made? Ifwe are really about all means all, we need to ensure that the systems in place reflect that. We still have thetime to uplift, value, and validate the realities that small businesses are facing right now. I hope that wecan have a solutions-oriented conversation led by business owners so that we can address their needsimmediately.
”On April 23, 2020, The Boston City Council held a hearing to discuss the planning of an equitablerecovery led by Councilors Mejia, Wu, and Arroyo.
"We need to continue working together to ensure that small businesses recover from COVID-19 and it isdone in an equitable and just way," said Boston City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo. "This hearing order willcontinue our work and I’m proud to partner with Councilor Mejia and Councilor Wu on this."
"The same communities who were already burdened with systemic inequity are bearing the burden ofCOVID in so many ways. To truly support small businesses and provide economic mobility, we must beintentional about communicating in ways that are culturally responsive and timely for all residents," saidCouncilor Wu. "I’m looking forward to hearing from small business owners and residents on how we caneliminate barriers, close information gaps, and collaborate closely with the community to ensure anequitable recovery from this pandemic.
"As chair of the Small Business and Workforce Development Committee, Councilor Mejia has focused alot of her efforts on supporting and uplifting minority-, women-, and immigrant-owned small businessesacross the city of Boston. Her office has collaborated with various partners to create a Bodega Project, anElder Food Access Initiative, and a COVID Business Ready Pilot Program for Barbershops and BeautySalons