In this episode of Breaking Down Barriers, Host David Ponraj talks to three prominent economic development leaders. They share their perspectives from the federal, state, and local levels about how economic developers can empower microbusinesses.

The panel discusses ways to revitalize those businesses with 1-9 employees that were negatively affected by the pandemic. Many studies focused on the distribution of relief grants, but the panelists say microbusinesses are overlooked and have been historically ignored by lenders and economic developers. According to the SBA, microbusinesses make up 90% of all businesses in the US. This creates 66% of new job opportunities. We find microbusinesses face sizable barriers to capital access and technical assistance, among other vital business resources.

Listen in to the discussion featuring Ryan Cobbins, Program Director for Energize Colorado Gap Fund, Suzanne Perreault, Small Business Program Manager for Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and Connie Evans, President & CEO for Association for Enterprise Opportunity, as they discuss the challenges microbusinesses face, and have long-faced, until a global pandemic revealed a critical need for economic developers to address and rectify, through innovation in resource allocation and policy change.

Learn more about our guests’ work:

Energize Colorado: energizecolorado.com
Association for Enterprise Opportunity: aeoworks.org
Michigan Economic Development Corporation: www.michiganbusiness.org

About Breaking Down Barriers

A Podcast About Entrepreneurship-Led Economic Development
This podcast explores entrepreneurship as part of the economic developer’s toolkit for building prosperity in our communities. Episodes feature changemakers with innovative approaches to building ecosystems and improving the environment to empower people to start and grow their businesses. Conversations focus on breaking down barriers that limit entrepreneurship in underserved and historically excluded communities. We seek authentic stories to understand the profound impact of entrepreneurship-led economic development on the local economy and spotlight a network of passionate leaders advancing the field. Find out more at economicimpactcatalyst.com/impact

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