Small businesses drive our national economy. According to a 2018 U.S. Small Business Administration report, 30.2 million small businesses employed 58.9 million individuals, or 47.5% of the working population. An April 2020 report by the National Bureau of Economic Research indicates the impact of COVID-19 on small businesses nationally has resulted in 43% of businesses being forced to temporarily close and, on average, staff reductions of 40%. Not to mention many small businesses were previously operating from a “financially fragile” state having “more than $10,000 in monthly expenses and less than one month of cash on hand.”
The City of Wilmington has an estimated 1,500 small businesses. In a local survey conducted by West Side Grows Together, a coalition of Wilmington's West Side residents, businesses, churches and community groups, business owners reported on average a 60% decrease in sales revenue since the stay-at-home orders took place. One small business owner expressed concern that their unique shop is “last in line” for consumer dollars as the shop does not offer food or medical service and people are less likely to spend money on anything that is not deemed essential. Like many small business owners adhering to mandatory closures, they are doing what they can to maintain some small revenue, such as offering gift cards or online retailing.
In Wilmington, several businesses have taken advantage of the city’s recent renaissance; however, those that have been open less than a year do not qualify for funding assistance. Small businesses are making hard financial decisions that may not be the best option for them, and there is a lack of grant funding that is available to quickly address their immediate needs.
In order to support small businesses citywide during the COVID-19 pandemic and the most recent events, we have developed The Wilmington Strong Small Business Fund.
To learn more, or to donate to The Wilmington Strong Fund, visit: