Poet Amanda Gorman serves on the board of Vital Voices, which educates and promotes women leaders and entrepreneurs worldwide.

Good afternoon, Times of E readers! This is your weekly news roundup.  Every Friday, we’ll give you the rundown on the latest news in the entrepreneurship world so you can stay in touch with promotions, recent studies, pitching opportunities and more. If you have a piece of news, please send it to Skyler Rossi, srossi@timesofe.com.

Biden on Business

Following President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’ inauguration Wednesday, Biden swiftly signed 17 executive orders, some tackling COVID-19 and economic relief. He’s launched a 100 day mask challenge, encouraging Americans to wear masks and state and local governments to implement mandates that stop the spread of the virus, and is moving to extend a federal moratorium on rent evictions. 

Last week, Biden announced a $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 relief plan. Among $1,400 more in stimulus checks, which would include adult dependents and households with mixed immigration statuses this time, aid for renters struggling to make their rent and $100 more in unemployment aid per week, the plan also allots $15 billion for a new grant program that will assist small businesses and $35 billion for some state, local, tribal and non-profit programs that make low-interest loans and provide venture capital to entrepreneurs. It also calls to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. 

The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, a nonpartisan advocacy group that works to protect small businesses and encourage entrepreneurship, responded to Biden’s plan, reiterating that business will do better once more people are vaccinated and COVID-19 isn’t so rampant. Though the statement warned that increasing the minimum wage will “disproportionately burden small businesses.” 

“We encourage the incoming Biden Administration to listen to entrepreneurs as to how new costs and requirements will undermine economic recovery,” Karen Kerrigan, the CEO and president of the group, wrote. 

We talked to entrepreneurs in November following the election about what the Biden administration should prioritize. Read more: What The Biden Administration Must Do For Entrepreneurs And The Economy

Chance for PPP, 2.0

A new round of Paycheck Protection Program funding opened. This time, initiatives are making it easier for small businesses to get the funds, such as PPP Loan Direct.  Most businesses who have less than 300 employees and had a 25% drop in revenue qualify for loans. Small businesses can borrow up to 2.5 times their monthly payroll, with a $2 million limit. The government will forgive 100% of the loans for those who meet the requirements. If not, the interest rate is 1%. 

The deadline to apply is March 31, but PPP Loan Direct recommends applying sooner because funds will run out. 

New in Town

BrainStation, a New York-based company that offers tech bootcamps and courses, is expanding to Miami after acquiring Miami-based Wyncode for an undisclosed amount. Its CEO Jason Field said the company has had its eye on the growing tech space in Miami for some time now and wants to be a resource for entrepreneurs and others in the area to expand their tech and data knowledge. Most of the Wyncode team, including its founders Johanna and Juha Mikkola, will transition to be part of the Florida BrainStation team, Field said. The location will also be hiring 50-70 positions. 

Unfair Relief

Black business owners and entrepreneurs were about 30 times less likely to have received government aid for people or businesses affected by the pandemic compared to all other racial or ethnic groups, according to a recent report led by Felix Kabo, an assistant research scientist in the Survey Research Center at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research. The data comes from University of Southern California’s Understanding America Study’s Coronavirus Tracker, according to a news release. In the report, Kabo and other researchers outline the ways the government could work to remedy the disparities in the first relief rollout:

  • The federal government should work to ensure that future stimulus funds are distributed more fairly
  • Agencies like the Small Business Administration and the Minority Business Development Agency should work with local governments to better communicate options to Black business owners and entrepreneurs
  • Agencies need to keep better data. During the first round of PPP loans, the SBA did not require keeping demographic data in underserved markets, the researchers wrote. 
  • Future funding packages should encourage partnerships with banks and other institutions that already have relationships with Black and minority business owners and entrepreneurs.

Sharpen Your Skills

Launch Dayton, a Dayton, Ohio-based accelerator that supports Daytonian entrepreneurs, is offering free, virtual, 10-week courses that will aid entrepreneurs into creating a startup out of their ideas. The group runs a general cohort for entrepreneurs with ideas in any industry and a tech cohort for entrepreneurs with a physical tech product idea. Participants will follow the Kauffman Foundation’s Kauffman Fastrak coursework and one founder will win $1,000. The first general cohort of 2021 runs Feb. 17- April 21 and the tech cohort runs Feb. 9- April 13. Applications are accepted up until the first date of the classes, according to a spokeswoman. 

Tweet of the Week

“‘There is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it – if only we’re brave enough to be it.’ HEARTS ARE FULL watching #VitalVoices Board member @TheAmandaGorman make history and move a nation on today’s #InaugurationDay stage.”

Amanda Gorman, the youngest person to be named a poet laureate, entranced America with her poem “The Hill We Climb,” which she completed following the riots on Capitol Hill earlier this month and performed following Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ inauguration Wednesday. The 22-year-old sits on the board of Vital Voices, a global nonprofit that invests in women leaders. 

Entrepreneur Spotlight

Best advice Cress Health received: Pick the path that leaves you with the least regrets later on. Worst advice: Wait until you’ve graduated and had a career to start making an impact. Read the full story: Mental Health App Makes A Fast Impact.

This story and others on New Builders Dispatch are made possible by a sponsorship from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that provides access to opportunities that help people achieve financial stability, upward mobility, and economic prosperity – regardless of race, gender, or geography. The Kansas City, Mo.-based foundation uses its grantmaking, research, programs, and initiatives to support the start and growth of new businesses, a more prepared workforce, and stronger communities. For more information, visit www.kauffman.org and connect with www.twitter.com/kauffmanfdn and www.facebook.com/kauffmanfdn.