In their ongoing commitment to cooperative small businesses, the House Small Business Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday, September 30, 2021, entitled, “Empowering Employee-Owned Businesses and Cooperatives Through Access to Capital.” The hearing will examine challenges faced by cooperatives and employee-owned businesses, especially in accessing affordable, safe capital.
Representatives from two cooperatives will be testifying before the committee: R.L. Condra will speak on behalf of the National Cooperative Bank and Tatia Cooper will speak on behalf of Home Care Associates of Philadelphia.
In addition to discussing the legislative history of cooperative small businesses, including the 2018 Main Street Employee Ownership Act, witnesses will discuss the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and continued challenges in accessing affordable capital. The hearing will also allow an opportunity for witnesses to discuss the potential impacts of the Cooperative Lending Pilot Program—a $500 million loan guarantee program for cooperatives and employee-owned businesses included in the Build Back Better Act.
This is the second hearing the House Small Business Committee will hold on this issue. The first hearing took place in February 2020, just weeks before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of this issue being on the forefront of the Committee’s agenda, the committee included specific language to ensure cooperatives were eligible for small business relief programs including the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Grant program. Collectively, these programs provided over $1.2 billion in relief to cooperatives.