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Missouri COVID-19 task force makes recommendations to support small businesses

Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 4:46 AM CST
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KFVS) - The Show Me Strong Recovery Task Force released it’s final report of recommendations to support small businesses across the state that have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. This includes minority- and women-owned businesses.

The report is based on a survey, seven-city listening tour and compiled data conducted by the task force in conjunction with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Cape Girardeau was one of the cities on the listening tour.

Researchers found that some industries, such as hospitality and retail, were negatively affected by the pandemic and businesses across all sectors continue to experience difficulties with hiring, supply chain issues and an unavailable workforce.

The task force recommends the follow to help address some of these issues:

  • Improve childcare availability and affordability to aid working families.
  • Expand and promote hospitality industry apprenticeships.
  • Update and promote Missouri’s Fast Track program.
  • Streamline small business interaction with state agencies by creating a “One-Stop Shop” business portal.
  • Promote and enhance existing state programs and services to support small, women-, and minority-owned businesses.

Other key findings in the report showed:

  • 90 percent of business owners that said labor shortages were a concern have increased wages in an effort to retain and recruit employees.
  • 49 percent of businesses plan to increase marketing and sales in the near term.
  • Nearly 60 percent of business leaders would like financial assistance, such as loans, incentives or grants.
  • 30 percent of small business reported an operating capacity decrease of 25 percent or more. For hospitality it was 46 percent decrease.

The task force also recommends the state to establish a broadband program that invests in connecting more Missourians to high-speed internet and help connect businesses with Missouri suppliers.

To read the full report, click here.

The Show Me Strong Recovery Task Force was formed in March 2021, through Executive Order 21-06, and was dissolved in December 2021.

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