On behalf of The Silicon Valley Organization (The SVO), we are writing to convey our strong support for the establishment of a $100 million small business loan & financial assistance program, as proposed by Supervisors Susan Ellenberg and Joe Simitian. We applaud theSupervisors for their forward-thinking leadership and for supporting our local, small businesses that have been severely impacted by COVID-19 and the shelter-in-place orders. By way of background, we are the Silicon Valley’s premier business advocacy organization representing nearly 1,200 local companies that employ nearly 300,000 local workers. We represent our membership as the region’s largest Chamber of Commerce.

During a time when there is so much economic uncertainty around whether Congress will deliver on a second round of stimulus funding, our County leaders can take leadership to provide local support to give our small businesses a fighting chance to survive and to help jumpstart economic recovery. According to an economic report by Yelp, the San Jose metro region is ranked #5 for one of the highest rates of business closures since the start of the pandemic.

This is a dire situation that requires immediate action and the County must take steps to protect our local, small businesses. In particular, we are especially supportive of these ideas:

• Create a loan forgiveness category, especially for those small businesses that continue to employ local workers in our community and/or provide PPE subsidies to promote a safe reopening of the economy.

• Partner with other potential philanthropists to match the County’s financial assistance package.

By helping small businesses, the County can preserve tax revenue opportunities for itself as we move into the next phases of economic recovery. This is a “win-win” solution to improve the County’s fiscal resiliency and to maintain safe, stable employment for our local families.

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