Small Business Survival Amid Covid-19


On Friday, March 27, President Donald Trump signed into law a $2 trillion stimulus package.
In a single sweep of a pen, this more than doubled the nation’s budget deficit compared to 2019.
This unprecedented bipartisan intervention is an attempt to lessen the crippling effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the U.S. economy. The package includes ~$350 billion for businesses with 500 employees or fewer. These funds will be distributed through the Small Business Administration’s lending network.


This session, which is being jointly delivered by the Sorenson Impact Center and Accelerator for America, will explore the potential impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on main street America, with a particular focus on micro and small businesses (1–19 employees). This group of businesses represents ~5.3 million employees across the U.S. and tends to have less engagement with banks and other lending providers than their larger counterparts.

Intended Outcomes

  • Highlight the very real and pressing challenges that micro/small business owners are facing in light of the COVID-19 epidemic.

  • Share insights and best practices around how communities are attempting to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and prime themselves for recovery.

  • Explore ways market makers and intermediaries can support both access to the stimulus package and technical assistance needed to weather the storm.


10:00–10:10 AM MST

Aaron Thomas, Director, Accelerator for America

10:10–10:30 AM MST

Overview of the Small Business Administration’s ~$350bn relief package
SBA Representative

10:30–11:30 AM MST

Panel discussion led by Bruce Katz
and other key experts in finance, local government, impact investing, and public policy

Panel Participants

Beth Bafford
Vice President, Syndications and Strategy, Calvert Impact Capital
  • Beth leads Calvert Impact Capital's new business development efforts, including their services to accelerate capital flows into communities through loan structuring and syndications.

  • She also oversees the organization's strategy, communications, and impact measurement functions.

  • Prior to joining Calvert Impact Capital, Beth was a consultant in McKinsey & Company's D.C. office where she focused on the U.S. Health Reform strategy.

  • She has also worked as a Special Assistant at the White House Office of Management and Budget during the drafting and passage of the Affordable Care Act, as a Regional Field Director for the 2008 Obama for America campaign, and as a Senior Associate at UBS Financial Services.

Bruce Katz
Director, Nowak Metro Finance Lab at Drexel University
  • The Lab seeks to find multi-sectoral ways to finance the inclusive city through new instruments, intermediaries, and institutions.

  • Katz is also the Co-Founder (with Jeremy Nowak) of New Localism Advisors. The mission of the firm is to help cities design, finance and deliver transformative initiatives that promote inclusive and sustainable growth.

Erin Mendenhall
Mayor of Salt Lake City
  • Mayor Mendenhall was elected on November 5, 2019, and took the oath of office on the steps of City Hall on January 6, 2020.

  • She is a passionate advocate for improving the City’s air quality, and served on Salt Lake City Council for six years.

  • Mayor Mendenhall launched an emergency loan program offering interest-free support to businesses to help them manage the impact of Covid-19.

Rachel Reilly
Director, Economic Innovation Group
  • Rachel serves as EIG's Director of Impact Strategy, leading the organization’s work to support communities, policymakers and investors in their efforts to catalyze sustainable economic growth across the country through Opportunity Zones and other forward-thinking initiatives.

  • Previously, Rachel was the Director of Impact Investing at Enterprise Community Partners where she expanded community investment opportunities for people and businesses.

  • Rachel was at the helm of Enterprise’s engagement with Opportunity Zones, and her portfolio of work included leading Enterprise’s $100 million debt offering – the Impact Note – in addition to policy and advocacy activities related to impact investing.

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Grant Baskerville (moderator)
Manager, Sorenson Impact Center
  • Grant's focus at the Sorenson Impact Center is supporting economic development. This includes the Center's work in promoting and supporting rural opportunity zones Utah and the delivery of the Forbes OZ 20, a national competition to elevate and celebrate best practices among communities and OZ Funds.

  • Prior to joining the Center, Grant served in senior communications, policy and public affairs positions in a number of sectors: renewable energy, not-for-profit, and community capacity building. He previously served as a trustee of an environmentally focused charity based in the UK and on the boards of two key renewable energy industry organizations.

Ross Baird
Founder, Blueprint Local 
  • Ten years ago, Ross co-founded a firm, Village Capital, that has been one of the most active supporters of entrepreneurs worldwide.

  • In January 2019, Ross founded a venture, Blueprint Local, that helps people invest in entrepreneurs in their own community.

  • Ross also works with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation as an Innovator-in-Residence, helping pilot new strategies to expand capital to the more than 81% of entrepreneurs who do not get a loan or receive venture capital.