Rep. Young Kim, small business owners discuss challenges and opportunities on ‘road to recovery’

On Tuesday, November 22, 2022, Congresswoman Young Kim (R-CA-39) visited Special Occasions DJ and Lighting in Brea, California for a tour and panel discussion with local small business owners about the challenges small businesses still face “Path of Recovery.”

The small company’s visit began with a tour led by Ajay Manaktala of Special Occasions DJ and Lighting. Following the tour, Rep. Kim participated in a panel discussion. The California small business owners in attendance — Virginia Pina of Brea Auto Body, Angela Jones of ViArch Integrated Solutions, and Angela Chang KCAL Insurance Agency — are members of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices community and alumni of the 10,000 Small Businesses program, which is run in partnership with the Los Angeles City College and Long Beach City College.

During the roundtable, Rep. Kim heard about the difficulties small businesses have encountered during their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, including workforce challenges, the impact of inflation and supply chain disruptions, and competition from larger companies. The small business owners also addressed the need to reauthorize and modernize the Small Business Administration and what elected leaders can do to help small businesses.

“Thank you to Special Occasions DJ and Lighting in Brea for hosting a tour and a productive roundtable discussion with local small business owners about the challenges they face in recovering from COVID-19 lockdowns,” said Rep. Young Kim. “Our contractors and workers are bearing the brunt of higher costs, ongoing supply chain disruptions and staffing issues. As a member of the House Small Business Committee, I will always be a loud voice for our small business owners and continue to work to fight inflation, strengthen domestic supply chains and create meaningful development opportunities for the workforce.”

A recent nationwide survey of small business owners from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices community found that small businesses are bearing the brunt of economic issues such as supply chain disruptions and inflation, and fear they will lose ground to larger companies by absorbing inflationary pressures and compete for workers.

Additionally, the survey found that 81% of small business owners believe that reauthorizing and modernizing the SBA should be a top priority for the 118th Congress. The SBA, the federal agency tasked with assisting American small businesses, was reauthorized by Congress seven times between 1980 and 2000, but the agency has not been reauthorized since. Prioritizing SBA reauthorization would help put small businesses on a stronger footing to compete with larger companies.

“Small business owners are resilient and determined to remain a central part of local economies and our communities, but the road to recovery from the pandemic continues to present serious challenges,” said Ajay Manaktala, owner of Special Occasions DJ and Lighting. “As members of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices community, we appreciate Congresswoman Kim for listening and learning from us. We look forward to working with him on the reforms needed to address these challenges so small businesses can come back even stronger.”

“Business practices and the realities we face have changed since the Small Business Administration last registered more than 20 years ago. Modernizing and reauthorizing the agency is one concrete action Congress can take to put small businesses on a stronger footing,” Manaktala continued.

Other toplines from the survey data include:

  • Recruiting and hiring workers is the biggest challenge for small business owners, with many reporting their inability to compete with larger companies for skilled workers.
  • 74% of small business owners facing hiring challenges cite competing with larger employers over pay and benefits as their biggest obstacle.
  • 96% of small business owners say inflationary pressures have increased or stayed the same since June.
  • 83% of small business owners say they are concerned their customers may be turning to larger companies as they are better able to withstand inflationary pressures and potentially offer more competitive prices.
  • 62% expect a recession next year, while 43% believe the US economy is already in recession.

The event was part of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices “Road to Recovery,” a transnational series of bipartisan events that will connect elected officials with small business owners and provide participating local, state and federal elected officials with opportunities to listen and learn directly of small business owners on the challenges and opportunities small businesses are facing in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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