COVID-19 Relief Programs Bypass Reps, Says MANA Member

I have been a MANA member since 2016, and have greatly benefitted from your services. My agency, North Central Manufacturing Solutions, represents suppliers of factory automation and test equipment, and sells to Fortune 500 manufacturers in the Upper Midwest.

I am sure that many MANA members are feeling the effects that the coronavirus has had on the economy. While almost all of us have fought and survived through economic downturns, we have not experienced “shelter-in-place”, which shuts down factories, and prevents suppliers from executing.

If shelter-in-place goes nationwide, and lasts for months, the effects on many individual entrepreneurs will be devastating.

Etsy CEO Josh Silverman recently made some excellent points on this topic that I wanted to share with MANA members.

For those who are not familiar with Etsy, it is an online marketplace serving 2.7 million entrepreneurs, of which 91% are single-person companies.

By Silverman’s count, there are 57 million US micro businesses that will be left out of the COVID-19 relief packages on the table in Congress. Some of these 57 million are probably MANA members.

For example, the relief packages speak to low-interest loans but many micro-businesses don’t qualify for business loans. They are instead funded through home mortgages or credit cards. So, for these 57 million companies,  home mortgage relief, credit card debt relief, and direct assistance are much more important than low-interest loans.

“Congress should create a supplementary direct assistance program for the self-employed and micro businesses to help cover the cost of lost business, paid sick leave, individual health care costs, and fixed expenses,” says Silverman.

And because some of these businesses are not eligible for unemployment protection, a program to extend similar benefits to these 57 million companies is very important, he adds, and under these circumstances tax and debt deferral would be appropriate.

Silverman also noted that many government’s disaster relief programs don’t provide benefits to the self-employed. Congress needs to add coverage of the self-employed to these programs.

So many MANA members are self-employed, we need to be included in the programs the government undertakes during this crisis.

Thank you again for your services.

Best regards,

Stephen J. Lamer
North Central Manufacturing Solutions LLC
Madison, Wisconsin