This summer, Evans School Associate Professor Crystal Hall, and recent alumni Puja Kumar (MPA ’20) and Sehej Singh (MPA’20) will work with the U.S. Office of Evaluation Sciences (OES) and Small Business Administration (SBA).  In this work, they will work with a set of local governments around the country to understand how they are incorporating considerations of equity into the design and implementation of their COVID-19 grant and loan programs for small businesses. They will document challenges faced by local entities in the design and implementation of applications to grant and loan programs, and strategies used to address these challenges. The work of the UW team will complement a separate set of OES impact evaluations on the effectiveness of COVID-recovery grants and loans programs. 

As the productivity of U.S. businesses plummeted in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, many economic measures were taken by federal, state, and local governments, including forgivable loans to small businesses, recovery rebate checks to households, and increased and expanded unemployment insurance. However, the funding models and criteria for distributing funding on a city-by-city basis are inconsistent, resulting in challenges in understanding when these programs are most effective, and for what types of businesses.  

The research results will be shared with participating cities and SBA in the fall of 2020. The ultimate goal is to inform the design and implementation of future efforts to support and sustain small businesses, with a focus on equitable access.