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CT Small Businesses Survived Pandemic, Face New Challenges

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Friday, September 9, 2022   

Although many small businesses in Connecticut have weathered the pandemic, it has not been the easiest of circumstances. And how are they doing now?

Small businesses make up almost half of Connecticut's economy, and they needed more than $14 billion in support from the Small Business Administration to stay afloat.

Despite these tough years, said Catherine Marx, district director of the SBA's Connecticut district office, she's been inspired to watch how well they've dealt with this call to action.

"Small businesses deal with challenges every day," she said. "The pandemic just layered on such enormous challenges, and watching small businesses pivot was amazing. Watching a restaurant pivot from in-service dining to takeout and doing a spectacular job of it."

About 1,300 restaurants in Connecticut received SBA funding of more than $300 million to help them through the pandemic, but more than 3,300 applied. Marx said the SBA programs created to help businesses through that time are now being evaluated for their necessity in the future.

Labor shortages, inflation and lingering supply-chain issues are the latest challenges small businesses face. Marx said she is seeing some business owners selling their small companies and moving on to newer things. She said she finds it encouraging that so many people still have the entrepreneurial spirit.

"I think there was something really interesting that happened during the pandemic. Whether it was because more people had time at home, or they had a change in priorities, but many people today are still starting new businesses," she said. "So, they're willing to face all of those challenges as we move ahead."

She said the SBA sees every day that business owners are rising to meet the challenges, to remain part of the fabric of their communities and important pieces of the state's economy.


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