Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin’s leadership and innovative collaboration with the private sector continue to pay off for Magic City workers and job creators.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Woodfin in the spring launched the #BhamStrong program, a public-private partnership centered on a $2.4 million loan pool funded equally by the City and private sector contributions. Emergency loans were funded through this program for Birmingham small businesses hit hard by the coronavirus.
Additionally, when the federal government established the Paycheck Protection Program earlier this year, Woodfin expanded #BhamStrong to ensure underserved businesses were able to obtain PPP loans — which become grants if certain conditions are met.
This #BhamStrong expansion once again was made possible by public-private partnerships, as the program brought together Goldman Sachs and Hope Credit Union (HOPE) to provide PPP loans to Birmingham small businesses who otherwise probably would not have been able to secure access to this much-needed capital.
A release from the City of Birmingham in recent days provided an update on this partnership, which detailed incredible success.
Since April, the program has provided $4.1 million in PPP loans, supporting 824 jobs at 175 businesses in Birmingham.
“Many of these were small and disadvantaged businesses that had trouble getting capital in the best of times, and they were falling through the cracks of the PPP safety net program,” Woodfin explained in a statement. “This partnership provided them a literal lifeline so they could keep going and keep their people working.”
Goldman Sachs provided up to $5 million for the loans, and HOPE administered the program with assistance from #BhamStrong. Beyond the capital for lending, the Goldman Sachs Foundation also provided grant funding to HOPE to expand its capacity in this crucial time. In addition to helping businesses through the application process, #BhamStrong provided administrative support, using workers who had lost their jobs because of the pandemic.
“This shows you what happens when the public and private sector work together, and all of us put people first,” Woodfin added. “I am so grateful to Hope Credit Union, Goldman Sachs and BhamStrong for stepping up to the plate and shoring up our small businesses at their hour of need.”
This is merely the latest example of Woodfin utilizing public-private partnerships to make a significant positive impact in the city. Birmingham Promise, the mayor’s signature workforce development initiative, also relies on this type of collaboration.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn