SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA (APRIL 16, 2021) – Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter joined business leaders and small business owners for a virtual webinar this week on the importance of digital platforms and services in supporting community resiliency and revival. “Tech Forward Webcast: Digital Resiliency and Community Revival in Minnesota” was hosted by Jake Ward, President of the Connected Commerce Council, a non-profit membership organization representing digitally empowered small businesses.
Mayor Carter discussed resiliency and adaptability among small businesses in Minnesota, particularly minority-owned businesses: “Pivoting has been particularly important for minority-owned businesses. Countless studies have shown that Black- and Brown-owned businesses were considerably less likely than white counterparts to receive public aid – including PPP loans. While we expect to see more equitable distribution of relief through this most recent package, this reality truly underscored the need for minority-owned small businesses to access digital tools that enabled adaptation in the absence of reliable government relief. As we all work toward a level small business playing field, free and affordable digital tools have proven a great equalizer.”
“Technology is going to play a big, big role in how we interact and how we do business in the future, making access crucial,” remarked Abel Lubbertyn, Chairman of the Board at the Minnesota Black Chamber of Commerce. “We should view technology tools an extension of what we are already working to accomplish in recovery efforts.”
“Tech access and capability is so important. We knew that, but now we really know that under these circumstances. As this technology ‘requirement’ really took hold, our job was to work with nascent small business owners to get them to a basic operational level,” noted Steve Cramer, President & CEO at the Minneapolis Downtown Council. “As the economy resets in this post-COVID period, technology is going to be even more important. What we don’t want to do, in our state in particular — a state of many disparities with respect to non-white and white populations — is have this become yet another barrier.”
To view a recording of the webinar, visit: https://youtu.be/0VJLZCLW54c