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#BhamStrong expands small business relief through partnerships with Goldman Sachs, Hope Credit Union

The City of Birmingham has found yet another way to assist its small businesses as they try to weather the COVID-19 crisis.

It announced this week that #BhamStrong has partnered with Goldman Sachs and Hope Credit Union (HOPE) to help the city’s small businesses and nonprofits gain access to the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), according to a release from the mayor’s office.

#BhamStrong is an organization established by Mayor Randall Woodfin to foster public-private partnerships and bolster the sectors of Birmingham’s economy and its people most affected by the coronavirus shutdown.

The group’s latest partnerships with Goldman Sachs and HOPE aim to deliver up to $5 million in PPP loans to eligible businesses.

RELATED: Mayor Randall Woodfin supporting small businesses through #BhamStrong public-private partnership

Congress had appropriated nearly $350 billion toward PPP, which is administered by the Small Business Administration in the form of government-backed loans from banks. The initial pot of federal money for the small business sector has been depleted. Earlier this week, the U.S. Senate passed legislation to replenish the fund with an additional $320 billion.

“Small businesses are the backbone of Birmingham’s economy,” remarked Woodfin. “We are going to do everything we can to establish partnerships that assist them in this time of need. We know that these funds are competitive and that not every business will receive an SBA loan, but this partnership with #BhamStrong, Hope Credit Union and Goldman Sachs puts Birmingham businesses in a better position to compete.”

The U.S. House has yet to vote on the additional funding.

#BhamStrong plans to work in collaboration with Hope to assist businesses and nonprofit organizations in completing applications and access the funds once they become available.

Obtaining funds through PPP has not been easy for many struggling small businesses.

The National Federation of Independent Businesses estimates that 80% of the nation’s small businesses had yet to gain access to the relief money before the fund ran dry.

RELATED: Additional small business relief viewed as essential despite congressional stalemate

“For 25 years, HOPE has targeted its financial services to meet the needs of those who lack full access to a banking relationship” said Kendra Key, HOPE senior vice president. “We are proud to work with the City of Birmingham, BhamStrong and Goldman Sachs to support local employers and service providers during this critical time.”

Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses is acting as this initiative’s liquidity sponsor, enabling HOPE to leverage their local network to make available over $5 million in loans to local businesses.

“Small businesses across Birmingham work tirelessly to serve their neighborhood and care for their employees,” said Margaret Anadu, Goldman Sachs’ managing director and head of the Urban Investment Group. “In this critical time, we are doing as much as we can, as fast as we can, to get urgently needed funds to small businesses, especially minority-owned businesses who often face greater challenges accessing capital.”

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

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