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Small Business Battling For US Aid Against Much Bigger Fish

The American tv equivalent of the famous Dragon’s Den show where aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas in the hope of generating public interest and angel investment is called Shark Tank.

On air for the best part of a decade it still remains popular as most people harbour notions of owning their own business someday.

Not everyone makes the leap and it’s not a journey for the faint hearted.

The question of how help should be provided to businesses is one that will be debated globally in the next few weeks and in the US struggling small companies have found themselves in a real life shark tank in the battle for government loans meant for them.

The question of what criteria is being applied for aid has to be asked after it emerged that public companies with CEOs on salaries of over a million per year were amongst those to benefit.

Nearly $350 billion in loans, known as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), were supposed to help small businesses continue to pay workers and overhead costs for two months. They also were available to the self-employed but those in limbo waiting to hear how their application went have since discovered that the fund ran dry after two weeks.

And the reason has upset those who have seen their companies grind to a halt.

Neighbourhood drycleaners who thought they might be in with a chance of keeping the doors open with some short term funding are wondering how companies like this were allowed hoover up all the federal cash.


Given the speed at which the pandemic has halted global economic activity, in the ‘situation room’ of all governments it must be chaotic to put it mildly. But when the dust settles and medium to longer terms solutions are being put forward for companies of all sizes who is eligible and how the money is divided will clearly need to be given more thought.