DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – During the coronavirus pandemic many small businesses have struggled. Now, they can apply for loans from the Small Business Administration.
Ohio Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted says many banks told him they were waiting for guidance from the federal government before acting. Now they have it.
Vocalink Global is one of the many companies that joined a virtual town hall Friday to share with the Lt. Governor how it’s impacted by the coronavirus. Both the state and cities like Dayton are doing what they can to keep the companies in business.
Amelia Rodriguez is the founder of Vocalink Global. She says, “We’re taking it like champs, but it’s hard.”
Many of Vocalink Global’s translators and interpreters work remotely from their homes in Egypt, Slovenia, Pakistan, and across the United States. But just two people are working in the corporate office in Dayton to keep critical financial, legal, and medical services running.
Rodriguez says the company’s mission is evolving. “We’re coming up with really great things to increase that revenue, and that’s bringing a lot of happiness to the people, it gives them the confidence that they need, that they’re going to be ok.”
She says that strategy can work for other small businesses. “Take the time, as much as possible, to meet with their staff to come up with ideas on how they can reinvent themselves.” Even Vocalink’s logo has been reinvented: the triangles now practice social distancing.
But the economic chain reaction is painful: Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley says 600 city workers were furloughed because the city will not collect the usual income tax revenue. The mayor says the furloughs reverse the gains the government is trying to make. “We spend all of our time thinking of how we can create jobs, and give economic sustainability, and we are ripping that away right now in order to keep people safe and saving lives.”
On Friday, many financial institutions told Lt. Governor Husted the Small Business Administration finally offered guidance for the loans promised in the recently-signed CARES Act.
The Lt. Governor says, “It’s important that you contact your banker to initiate that process.”
But many businesses, including restaurants and bars –which the mayor calls the lifeblood of the community– have already been hit very hard. Mayor Whaley says, “Our job as local elected officials is to advocate, to share their stories, and to fight like hell for them once we’re through this health epidemic.”
Amelia Rodriguez says so far Vocalink has not had to lay off a single employee as they switch to working remotely. But she says she is looking at other options for loans to make sure the company survives.