Small companies want stimulus help

January 5, 2009 7:03:42 PM PST
Small businesses around the Bay Area and the country are worried they won't get a piece of the economic stimulus pie. In California, they've launched an email campaign aimed at the state's congressional delegation.

"Where's mine?" asked Stephen Cornell, a small business owner.

Cornell is the owner of Brownie's Hardware, a fixture in San Francisco since 1905. Cornell has watched auto industry and banking CEOs plead for government bailouts. He doesn't want America's small businesses, those with 100 or fewer employees, to be left out of the new economic stimulus plan.

"It's small businesses that are taking chances everywhere in the country for years. That's how businesses start. It would be nice if we could get some help too," said Cornell.

According to the National Small Business Association, small companies have created more than 90 percent of all new jobs in the country for the past 30 years. Now they're reminding Congress of that by launching an email campaign, sending a letter that states "Small businesses truly are the backbone of the U.S. economy."

The previous rescue package that was supposed to loosen the credit market hasn't trickled down to Virginia Donahue. She has been unable to get a loan to remodel her business called Pet Camp.

"Small companies are completely left out of it, there's a giant funnel. It stopped long before it hit here. I don't know who has the money, but we don't have it," said Donahue.

The National Small Business Association is requesting the next stimulus package include the little guys. For example they're urging Congress to increase the percentage of loans guaranteed by the government, and mandate that 23 percent of any infrastructure stimulus funds be contracted out to small businesses.

Scott Hague heads California's Small Business Organization.

"We're very optimist that president elect Obama will make the SBA a cabinet level position. He does seem to understand the importance of small business in the economy. We would just like to see specifics," said Hague.

Hague and others are urging the new administration to think big and start small.