Senator Kelly Works to Ensure More Arizona Small Businesses Can Access COVID-19 Relief

Community Navigator programs will help Spanish-speaking, rural small business owners access aid

This week, Senator Kelly is working to ensure that more Arizona small businesses can access support as the Senate works to pass the COVID-19 relief bill. A Kelly-supported provision, included in the COVID-19 relief bill being considered this week, would establish a grant program at the Small Business Administration to help local governments, chambers of commerce, and other business organizations create Community Navigator programs to assist small businesses with the application process for the Paycheck Protection Program and other small business relief. This would include grants to organizations that provide bilingual assistance and outreach to rural and tribal businesses.

“I’ve spoken to small business owners in every corner of Arizona who are still struggling. Far too many small businesses have faced issues accessing relief, and many others, including in underserved and rural communities, have been unable to get the support they need. This Community Navigator Program will help meet Arizona small business owners where they are at, whether that is in Spanish-speaking communities, rural areas, or otherwise, and get them the support they need to keep their businesses afloat and their employees on the payroll,” said Senator Kelly.

“Expanding how we reach our diverse small business community will be critical in ensuring Arizona’s economy bounces back stronger and leaves no one behind. From the digital divide in rural Arizona to reaching tribes across our vast state, activating Community Navigator programs will allow for local trusted partners and banks to reach underserved businesses and make sure they have access to relief they need to survive,” said Kimber Lanning, Executive Director, Local First Arizona.

Kelly wrote President Biden and congressional leaders this week urging inclusion of the Community Navigator program in the COVID-19 relief bill. At Kelly’s request, provisions have also been included in the upcoming COVID-19 relief bill directing SBA to create a hotline for small business owners to call with questions about small business relief programs, and conduct targeted outreach programs to underserved communities.