Kissimmee Main Street businesses seek help with new PPP loans
KISSIMMEE, Florida – On a strip of historic Main Street in Kissimmee, businesses continue to struggle to survive during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think we’re about 60% back from where we were last year,” said Jackie Espinosa, who owns seven businesses in the area. “I think people are still scared.”
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In order to get by, Espinosa applied for paycheck protection program loans for some of his struggling businesses.
“It was a bandage for now,” she said.
The third round of loans from the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program will focus on helping owners of minority-owned businesses like Espinosa, the SBA said. She plans to apply again to help start her business.
“As we have grown into the new era of the pandemic, it is important that we understand that it is about survival,” she said.
The SBA reports that 27% of the PPP loans it has distributed have gone to [income] communities ”, where many minorities live.
However, several businesses in the Kissimmee area still need help applying.
“Some of our business leaders speak more Spanish than English, and it is difficult for them to understand the logistics behind the real PPP requirements,” Espinosa said.
The Main Street Board is helping to solve this problem, providing business owners with step-by-step bilingual instructions and helping them connect with a local bank. The last time PPP loans were given out, the Main Street Board helped about 40 companies, Espinosa said.
“Our role is to make business owners, both local and downtown, feel like we have someone to talk to,” said Espinosa, Main Street board member.
She said she hopes the conversation leads to a thriving downtown area again.