February is already here and there is a lot to talk about, so I’ll get right to it! On the Federal relief front, the SBA and private-sector financial institutions have processed over 891,000 PPP loans nationwide worth over $72.7 billion. Out of that, 2,217 Alaskan businesses and nonprofits have received PPP loans totaling $228 million since the program launched. While there is still over $200 billion left in the program, the money appears to be going fast so get your application in soon!
February is Black History Month, and there are several amazing events out there for you and your families to take advantage of to learn more about the important role Black Americans played in our history. There’s a great story about Captain Healy, the first Black captain of a government ship below penned by our Northern and Rural Business Advisor, Jade Greene. If you’re looking for ways to support Black-owned businesses, check out the Alaska Black Business Directory linked below as well!
I’m also pleased to announce that the Alaska SBDC’s Annual Report containing the results of our 4th Annual Small Business Survey and 2020 CARES Act funding analysis has been released. This is a fantastic overview of business activity, trends, and highlights from across the state that I think you will find very interesting. One of the items that caught my attention was the fact that 50% of businesses surveyed weren’t selling online, but many of them wanted to be. The breakdown of CARES funding by region was also interesting for those wondering where the money went.
As the pandemic drags on and cabin fever reaches its late winter peak, it’s important to focus on the good news. The COVID-19 vaccines are rolling out in Alaska faster than almost anywhere else in the US. Statewide numbers are dropping and hospitalizations are down almost everywhere. The second round of federal funding is being deployed quickly and there looks to be another relief bill on the way that will help individuals and local governments as well as businesses. It may be only February, but Spring is coming and with it, better times.
Happy Black History Month and remember to shop local this Valentine’s Day!
Alaska SBDC Executive Director