Voices from the MS Back to Business Program
October 7th, 2020
Small businesses throughout Mississippi are struggling to stay afloat after statewide lockdowns and the loss of revenue caused by COVID-19. In May, the state legislature approved $300 million in CARES Act funding for two small business programs. The Mississippi Department of Revenue administered $60 million in direct payments for eligible businesses, and the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) administered the $240 million Back to Business program. During the first 60 days, MDA deployed less than $2 million total to just 2,000 businesses, despite tremendous demand. Over 20,000 businesses applied for funds, seeking $100 million in relief. Nearly 60% of these applicants were minority- and women-owned businesses. Even though the Mississippi legislature enacted updates to the program such as increasing payment size and removing some of the restrictive elements of the funding formula, businesses still faced challenges accessing relief. As of September 29, 2020, only $52 million of the $240 million available through the Back to Business program has been deployed to 11,621 businesses.
Read the full brief here.