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As COVID-19 continues to spread and shut down economies, small business owners are going to great lengths to stay afloat—with help from a major tech company

Across the globe, and the nation, business is being put on hold and millions have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 crisis. As of May 2020, approximately 22 million people in the United States had filed for unemployment. According to CNBC, 47 million people could lose their jobs for a record-setting 32% unemployment rate.

The JPMorgan Chase & Co. Institute Small Business Data Dashboard reports that over 99% of America’s 28.7 million firms are small businesses. To try and stimulate the economy, the Trump Administration passed a $2 trillion stimulus package, with roughly $349 billion going to small businesses. Within two weeks, the funding ran dry.

Small Business is the backbone of the American economy—business owners have to be innovative and quick on their feet to stay afloat. With the livelihoods of many people on the line, they aren’t backing down. 

Many entrepreneurs have been transforming their business plans on the go. For instance, a local coffee shop, Legends Coffee, is facing adversity with a significant decrease in business. However, to comply with Colorado’s social distancing laws this spring, they quickly pivoted and created a new website to allow for online orders and curbside pick-up.

This new system allowed customers and employees to minimize their contact with one another, while providing another source of revenue to Legends without requiring customers to leave the safety of their homes or cars. Jake Wickline, owner of Legends, said, “When there’s a will, there’s a way. Small business owners are going to go down swinging if they have to.”

Melissa Akaka, an associate professor of marketing at the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business and co-director of the Consumer Insights and Business Innovation Center (CiBiC), said that small businesses are relying on “their deep and personable relationships” to stay afloat. Furthermore, Akaka explained that many consumers with a strong affinity for their local small businesses are doing their best to continue supporting those brands and companies more.

This is only one example of how small business are pivoting, but it’s happening all across the nation. It is quite inspiring to see the innovation of the technology companies that are rising to the challenges created by the pandemic, specifically Facebook. Facebook is launching a new app called Facebook Shops. Facebook Shops’ goal is to make shopping seamless and empower businesses to connect with their consumers through a single online store that is accessible from both Facebook and Instagram.

It is essential for small businesses to continue developing their relationships and connecting with the community during this time because, as Akaka said, “Small businesses are leveraging the relationships they have built within the community to stay afloat.”

Legends Coffee and other small businesses help bring light to their communities—and consumers are doing what they can to help during these tough times. Akaka emphasized that the brands that have communities supporting them are more likely to weather this storm.

Let’s get out there and support small businesses within our community.

Matt Payton is a research assistant and lab technician for CiBiC and a Daniels graduate student pursuing his Master of Science in Business Analytics.

Please visit DU’s COVID-19 website and subscribe to @uofdenver Twitter for updates regarding COVID-19.

Please visit DU’s COVID-19 website and subscribe to @uofdenver Twitter for updates regarding COVID-19.