This past Tuesday, May 30, 2023, Congressman Darren Soto hosted the Hispanic Small Business Town Hall at the AGM University - Metro Orlando Campus. The event was streamed live on his Facebook page and featured a panel of experts who discussed various topics related to the challenges and opportunities faced by Hispanic small business owners in Central Florida.
The panelists were:
- Melody Gonzales, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Hispanics
- Johanna López, Florida's 43rd District Representative
- Rita Harris, Florida's 44th District Representative
- Brian Beard, Public Affairs Specialist, US Small Business Administration
Some of the topics covered by the panelists in the event were:
- SBA Disaster Assistance Program: This program provides low-interest loans to businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners, and renters who suffered losses due to disasters such as hurricanes, floods, or wildfires. The panelists explained how to apply for these loans and what documents are required.
- Paycheck Protection Program: This program was part of the CARES Act passed by Congress in 2020 to help small businesses keep their workers on payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic. The panelists discussed how this program helped many Hispanic small businesses survive the crisis and how some of them were able to get their loans forgiven.
- Inflation Reduction Act (IRA): This bill was introduced to help reduce inflation and stabilize prices for consumers and businesses. The panelists expressed their support for this bill and how it benefits the Hispanic community.
The town hall also included a Q&A session, where the attendees were able to ask questions to the panelists and share their stories and concerns. Congressman Soto thanked everyone for their participation and encouraged them to stay connected with his office for more information and assistance.