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Posted on: March 9, 2021

Pierce County businesses weigh in on business assistance programs

Pierce County businesses recently told the County’s Economic Development Department what they need to survive and recover from the pandemic. 

A survey of Pierce County businesses was recently conducted to learn which types of assistance they have used since the start of the pandemic and to gather feedback on the effectiveness of those programs. Businesses were also asked which types of support and services they need in 2021.

"As we move forward into business recovery, we're pleased to learn from our respondents that overall, our Federal CARES Act programs were beneficial and helped keep our business community afloat,” said Pierce County Economic Development Director Betty Capestany. “It's also clear that many businesses are still in need of support. Survey results will inform our efforts to help businesses in Pierce County access the programs and services they need during the pandemic and beyond.” 

More than 1,700 business leaders representing businesses across all sectors located throughout the county completed the survey. Of businesses surveyed, the majority are small businesses with 77% having 10 or fewer employees. Additionally, 57% have been in business for 11 or more years, 17% for 6-10 years, and 26% for five years or less. Results showed that 51% of those that responded are women-owned businesses, 31% are minority-owned businesses, and 11% are veteran-owned.

Businesses were asked which programs or services they have used. The most frequently used programs were assistance available through the Small Business Administration (SBA). The free personal protective equipment (PPE) program was next, followed by the Emergency Small Business Relief Loan/Grant and rent and mortgage assistance programs, all created through federal CARES Act funds distributed by Pierce County.

In terms of employment, 55% of businesses surveyed said they have had no change in the number of employees over the past six months, 37% noted a decrease, and 8% have increased the number of people they employ. 

When businesses were asked which programs or services would most help their business in 2021, funding for operations and fixed costs such as rent/mortgage assistance rose to the top, followed by supplies/PPE, and funding for business growth/expansion. 

The survey closed on March 2, 2021 and the results are posted at the Pierce County website at https://piercecountywa.gov/2021businesssurvey.

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