May 2020 Newsletter
Pictured: WTC Utah president & CEO Miles Hansen presenting at WTC Utah’s Virtual Trade Mission with the United Arab Emirates. April 27, 2020.
As Utah moves from the urgent to the stabilization phase of its COVID-19 response, now seems to be an appropriate time to highlight the work of the many organizations and individuals that have selflessly served on the Utah Economic Response Task Force Rapid Response Team. The team, organized as part of the task force’s federal committee, has provided one-on-one assistance to well more than 2,000 Utah small businesses as they work to benefit from the Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loans, and other federal programs designed to support small businesses during this challenging economic time. WTC Utah is honored to have played a role in working with the Small Business Administration Utah District Office to organize and lead the team, and it has been inspiring to see the tremendous support from the many private and public organizations that have contributed personnel to staff the team. It is a great Utah story, and I wanted to share with you a press release that was distributed this morning to highlight all those involved in this effort and the impact to Utah small businesses thanks to the team members’ dedication to this important effort.
Utah Rapid Response Team Volunteers Assist Small Businesses With Federal Stimulus Resources
Salt Lake City Utah – Today the Utah Economic Response Task Force announced that the Rapid Response Team (RRT) had provided one-on-one assistance to more than 2,000 Utah small businesses in their efforts to benefit from federal COVID-19 stimulus programs. With a goal to level the economic dip within the state by helping Utah companies navigate federal resources, the RRT was developed by the Utah Economic Task Force Federal Committee, which is comprised of Utah’s Congressional delegation, federal partners, and key state business and government entities. The Utah Economic Task Force is chaired by Salt Lake Chamber President and CEO Derek B. Miller.
“The Economic Response Task Force understood early on that federal resources would be a key component of combating the coronavirus pandemic,” said Miller. “Our federal resource committee overseeing the RRT has done a phenomenal job of working with Utah businesses to resolve concerns and remove roadblocks between our businesses and the capital they need to remain viable. We will continue to work with applicants and our federal partners to ensure adequate resources meet the needs of our employers and employees they support.”
As of May 1, 2020, the U.S. Small Business Association reported that more than 40,000 Utah businesses have received SBA Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) loans valued at approximately $5.4 billion. PPP loans were designed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll during the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The SBA will forgive the loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.
“The SBA Utah District is incredibly grateful to all of the Rapid Response Team members for their time, dedication, and willingness to support our office in providing critical resources to small businesses throughout the state,” said District Director Marla Trollan. “Their work has helped thousands of small business owners navigate the complex requirements and processes of our disaster relief programs. We are very appreciative to the World Trade Center for co-leading this effort. This partnership truly serves as a national model in how federal and local resources can quickly come together and collaborate during crisis situations,” she said.
Assisting local businesses in their efforts to obtain PPP loans and other economic resources, the RRT includes 54 volunteers from across business, government, education and civic organizations, all collaborating to help lessen the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Utah’s business community. On top of fulfilling their regular work duties, RRT volunteers have increased the state’s bandwidth on the front lines of the crisis by providing one-on-one consultations and assistance to Utah small business owners struggling to find answers about the critical programs the federal government is rolling out through the CARES Act.
“With the flood of new programs and resources emanating from Washington, it is often difficult, but critical for small business owners to understand these resources as they seek financial assistance to keep their businesses afloat and pay their employees,” says David Carlebach, Vice President of WTC Utah who is heading the RRT. “Each RRT member is volunteering 10-15 hours of their time each week to answer requests for help from Utah businesses. These volunteers are providing real solutions, and the collaboration is amazing.”
Despite the long hours, the volunteers say they share a similar sentiment: “We are making a huge difference, and it is an honor to help Utah businesses keep their doors open during this difficult time,” says Jim Porter, Trade Services Manager of WTC Utah who is also leading the RRT.
According to JP Morgan Chase, most small businesses only hold enough cash reserves to keep their business going about 27 days. For many small Utah businesses, every minute counts, and many feel they are on the brink. If you know a business owner in need of help, please have them reach out to the Rapid Response Team by visiting coronavirus.utah.gov/business and clicking “Submit Help Request.”
The RRT volunteers come from the following organizations:
ABC 4 Utah
Anderson Auto Doors
Ben McAdams U.S. Congress
Governor’s Office of Economic Development
Now Playing Utah
Salt Lake Chamber
Salt Lake City Government
Salt Lake Community College
U.S. Small Business Administration
Visit Salt Lake
Women’s Business Center of Utah
World Trade Center Utah
For more information about the PPP loans visit: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SBA%20PPP%20Loan%20Report%20Deck.pdf
Virtual Trade Mission Highlight
Looking towards the stabilization and recovery phases of Utah’s economy, WTC Utah is focused on recalibrating its programming to help Utah businesses identify and benefit from new sources of revenue as a way of driving our economic recovery. Some of the most vital business investments come in the form of strategic exposure and partnership. In light of this, WTC Utah is proud to provide the very best in international business engagement regardless of the circumstances. The WTC Utah webinar series has regularly drawn an attendance in the triple digits, has continued to meet the demands of small business loans, and is working collaboratively with partners both locally and internationally as a contributing member and advocate to spearhead Utah’s economic recovery and further development.
International trade and investment have been key to Utah’s economy over the past decade of growth. International trade now supports nearly one in every four Utah jobs in the state, with small businesses accounting for 85 percent of Utah’s exporters. Utah’s export growth rate has been the highest in the nation for the past two years. Increasingly, Utah is recognized in the many countries we operate in as not just the crossroads of the West, but the crossroads of the World.
Companies that engage in global partnerships and international trade are far more resilient than those that do not. Last year, international sales added nearly $5 billion in revenue to Utah small businesses; maintaining and growing that number is going to be essential in our efforts to ensure that in our new COVID world, Utah continues to be the best-performing state in the nation.
Before the outbreak of COVID-19, WTC Utah planned to take more than 50 business leaders on a Governor-led Trade Mission to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in April. Circumstances required a change of plans. Working with the U.S-U.A.E. Business Council and the Saudi Ministry of Investment, we were able to launch a Virtual Trade Mission to an online audience looking for introductions and opportunities with business leaders from both nations, a chance to facilitate trade and investment matchmaking virtually before international travel resumes. The event laid a solid foundation for a future re-scheduling of the Governor-led Trade Mission as soon as circumstances allow. The Governor’s Office of Economic Development emphasized Governor Herbert’s commitment to Utah’s relationship with the U.A.E. and with Saudi Arabia.
On April 27, a business overview seminar kicked things off for the Virtual Trade Mission with an overview of key opportunities for expansion into U.A.E. markets. On April 28, the trade mission continued with four breakout sessions specializing in Oil & Gas, Healthcare & Life Sciences, Aerospace & Defense and Tech & Entrepreneurship. In total, the breakout sessions saw over 100 registered attendees, including being introduced to key players in each industry to help companies with business strategies in the months ahead.
In early March, WTC Utah hosted Her Royal Highness Reema bint Bandar Al Saud in Utah, laying a framework for the upcoming trade mission to Saudi Arabia. In preparation for the trade mission, on April 29, WTC Utah hosted a Virtual Trade Mission to Saudi Arabia that provided a rare opportunity to hear from the Saudi Ministry of Investment and senior leaders from four high-profile Giga Projects. The seminar provided an overview of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to diversify its economy away from oil and highlighted the enormous effort the Kingdom has made to significantly transform its economy. This transformation, otherwise known as Vision 2030, builds its foundation upon a broad array of developments and mega-projects designed to transform Saudi Arabia into a global hub for business, travel, finance, and innovation. Leaders from the Giga Projects connected with Utah businesses to form potential partnerships.
List of the represented Giga Projects:
WTC Utah will continue to provide virtual trade missions for Utah companies so they can engage in overseas opportunities and learn if various overseas markets are right for their companies. We are currently exploring virtual trade missions to Canada, China, Israel, India, Australia and New Zealand. Stay tuned for more details on WTC Utah’s efforts to bring Utah to the world – virtually.