Behning: Accelerating economic recovery by supporting small businesses

Posted by: Samantha Holifield  | Monday, February 8, 2021 3:04 pm

From our top ranking as the best business climate in the Midwest, to our low taxes and regulations, Indiana has a long history of supporting small-business owners and recognizes how vital they are to our state and local economies. Our communities rely on local businesses for jobs, products and services. To continue supporting small businesses and accelerate Indiana's economic recovery, we are working on legislation to provide relief directly to Hoosier entrepreneurs.

I recently supported a proposal for a new law that would provide local businesses much-needed support through the Hoosier Hospitality Small Business Restart Grant Program. With this program, businesses, like restaurants and shops, could apply for support to help pay for business and payroll expenses. This additional financial support could help employers keep their doors open and our neighbors working.

After advancing through the Indiana House of Representatives, this bill now heads to the Indiana Senate for consideration.

In addition to this program, Indiana provides other tools to help struggling businesses. From online marketing help to COVID-19 resources, the Indiana Small Business Development Center can help. With many consumers shopping online, the ISBDC partnered with the Indiana University Kelley School of Business to launch Project HOPE. This free resource pairs eligible companies with Kelley School of Business students and recent graduates to help establish or increase their online presence through website development, e-commerce support, and other digital tools and services. Learn more and apply online at isbdc.org/covid-resources/increase-your-online-presence.    

The ISBDC also offers information on state and federal grants, including the Paycheck Protection Program. The federal government recently reopened this program to provide first-time funds to businesses that were not able to apply in 2020, and second-time grants for those still in need of support. This program can be used to help fund payroll costs, including benefits, and pay for mortgage interest, rent, utilities, worker protection costs related to COVID-19 and more. These low-interest loans must be paid back within five years, but some payments may be deferred. Businesses can apply for a PPP loan online at sba.gov. Applications need to be submitted by March 31. 

Local entrepreneurs are working overtime to meet the needs of customers and employees, and supporting small businesses is the best way we can help them. Whenever possible, shop local. Many businesses offer online ordering and curbside pickup options. Information about the businesses throughout Hendricks County can be found online at visithendrickscounty.com. For Marion County, guides on local business are available at visitindy.com.

Indiana's small business do so much for our community and state, and I remain committed to helping them bounce back stronger than ever before. Please reach out to me with any questions at h91@iga.in.gov or 317-232-9648.

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State Rep. Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis) represents House District 91,
which includes portions of Hendricks and Marion counties.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo.