SHCCNJ’s Focus on Helping Small Businesses During the Covid-19 Pandemic.
By Melissa Torres, SHCCNJ Communications Resource
Covid-19 or Coronavirus, as we informally call the pandemic that has tremendously impacted the world, started taking a toll on New Jersey businesses and communities in the second week of March. From the very beginning Carlos Medina, President and CEO of SHCCNJ, and Chairman Luis De La Hoz were actively working on proposals with The White House and Governor Phil Murphy’s office to help business owners receive grants, loans and other benefits.
During this time, uncertainty prevailed as the shock of the pandemic was unparalleled to anything we have experienced before. Hourly, the SHCCNJ was receiving calls from business owners, members, and non-members, of large and small businesses to receive guidance on how to navigate these troubling times.
With a mission to promote the continued growth and development of New Jersey’s Hispanic businesses, the SHCCNJ took the torch and continues to help owners pivot through unpredictability. It all started with weekly video Q&As meant to cover common topics such as shutdown orders, exemptions, personnel issues, customer relations issues, insurance coverage issues, access to capital, and post-pandemic work.
Once the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed on March 27th, the SHCCNJ was able to welcome Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker during a virtual Town Hall meeting. Throughout this meeting, the Senators explained the benefits and requirements necessary for business owners to apply for government-funded Loans such as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), EIDL, SBA Express Bridge Loans, SBA Debt Relief.
After this good news was announced, many members and non-members called the SHCCNJ because they were not hearing back from their accountants, bank representatives, or had been rejected for assistance. From there, the SHCCNJ turned its focus to directly helping and guiding 200+ business owners apply to relief programs, track their application, and speak to CPAs as well as attorneys. During this process, the SHCCNJ has relied on its long-standing allies Valley National Bank, BCB Bank, and others to get local businesses the necessary funding to remain open.
Simultaneously, the SHCCNJ held and continues to hold Zoom video calls. Its new Youtube series ChamberTalks meant to help professionals take charge of their business by adequately promoting and reinventing their services. Special guests of previous ChamberTalks episodes were General Counsel, Marco Gonzalez, Jr., Jeff Gomez, CEO Starlight Runner Entertainment, Lili Gil-Valletta, and Ted Rubin. All the episodes are available on the SHCCNJ website and YouTube Channel along with more Covid-19 resources.
Moving forward, the SHCCNJ hopes to carry on its mission of expanding business opportunities, educating, serving as an active and visible advocate in the political process for the Hispanic business community, and actively promoting trade.
To receive more information and guidance about Covid-19 financial relief programs, future Q&A Zoom calls, and ChamberTalks, please visit our website www.shccnj.org or follow us on social media @SHCCNJ.