Forty – eight hours after the inauguration of our nation’s first Black and South Asian Woman Vice President, Nadiyah Johnson, the founder of Jet Constellations and the Milky Way Tech Hub was invited to discuss solutions for immediate action to help small businesses across the nation. This invite came as a follow – up from a previous conversation Johnson had with Harris in September of 2020. Johnson shared she was honored to reconnect with and engage in Friday’s working session with Vice President Harris.
During the most recent dialogue with Vice President Kamala Harris founder Johnson was joined by Ryan Wilson founder of the Gathering Spot in Atlanta and Brian Deese the National Economic Council Director. The hour-long working session began with hearing from Vice President Harris on the substantive steps the administration is taking to help business owners survive and thrive in the COVID-19 pandemic. The Milky Way Tech Hub has been actively addressing the needs of small businesses through grants and tech training during the pandemic. Johnson shared solutions with Vice President Harris around equipping black and brown businesses with technical education to help sustain their businesses and help them thrive in the future. Also discussed in the working session:
- New covid regulations and restrictions are making it increasingly difficult for small business owners to keep pace and pay for the equipment and supplies they need to keep their businesses going..
- The need to prepare businesses in our community to leverage emerging technologies for future growth.
- The importance of working to make sure regional and large banks step up to the plate and bank with small businesses in the long-term.
Before the discussion concluded Vice President Harris stressed the importance of minority-owned businesses having priority access to relief funds through Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI’s) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDI’s). Vice President Harris reiterated the administration’s commitment to forthcoming legislation that will provide additional relief. Johnson stated “it was apparent this administration is committed to making sure that Black-owned businesses do not face the same challenges with accessing funds through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) . This administration is committed to ensuring that access to capital is available in the short and long term.” Founder Johnson ended the meeting with an understanding that CDFI’s and MDI’s having additional funding moving forward is one of the administration’s priorities. If you would like to read and review the entire American Rescue plan please visit the link below.