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Desperate small business. Can the $ 1 billion program help?



Desperate small business. Can the $ 1 billion program help?

After robbers hit the Hollywood restaurant Los Balcones del Peru in a wave of protests against police brutality on Saturday night, owner Jorge Rodriguez considers himself lucky enough to laugh at him.

“He took the most expensive wine we had and left,” Rodriguez said, adding that the man had left the restaurant untouched. “Looks like he has an appetite for red wine. He did not touch the white skin. “

Rodriguez maintains a dismal sense of humor even as he struggles to maintain his business with the help of life.

This restaurant is located on Vine Street, a few steps from ArcLight Cinemas. Like other businesses that cater to tourists, Los Balcones is beaten severely by COVID-19, a disease caused by coronavirus. “January is when we start getting all travelers from Asia and Europe,” Rodriguez said. “We never get that traffic.”

Reliable customers trickled in and out, but the number of employees dropped from 43 workers to seven. He was unable to open limited seating until early July. Restaurants receive the Paycheck Protection Program money from the federal government, but it will soon disappear, with the return of normal business a distant prospect.

Millions of small businesses in California and throughout the country are in the same trouble. Their livelihoods have been threatened by COVID-19 locking and scarcity of business traffic. Then, for many people, there comes a loss of income from curfews or damage due to looting .. Loans are hard to come by and the prices are very expensive.

Looking to provide a lifeline, the Bay Area group created in March launched an ambitious California program to raise $ 1 billion in capital to help healthy small-scale companies survive the next few months.

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Community lenders, law firms, universities, philanthropists, small business groups and volunteers have joined as California Small Business Task Force to raise funds to provide cash to maintain working capital and other important expenses until – everyone hopes – a better economy increases customer spending next year.

“We are trying to prevent or reduce the number of people in the line of bread,” said Susan Mac Cormac. A corporate lawyer and partner at the international law firm Morrison & Foerster, Mac Cormac helped come up with a task force plan, which he considered important to prevent a wave of poverty. “We cannot overcome the economic problems of COVID-19 and the murder of George Floyd without being able to provide jobs in [low-income] community, “he said. “And the only people who employ people in this community are micro businesses.”

In a March survey by the advocacy and education group Majority of Small Businesses, 44% of small business owners said they had to be closed forever without immediate financial assistance. Many receive loans that can be forgiven under the CARES Act passed by Congress. But big blob Federal emergency loans, money diverted to fast food chains, hotels and other companies that have large bank relations and resources to hire expensive lawyers, accountants and lobbyists.

“Federal and state funding does not reach the companies that need it most,” Mac Cormac said. “But the need is huge.”

The expected high default rate for small business recovery loans translates into interest rates “well above normal time,” said Adair Morse, a finance professor at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. For the worst hit areas, he estimates tariffs “in the order of 25% to 30%, if not more.” So the loan program “must at least be subsidized in part by the government or philanthropy,” he said.

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The California task force began primarily to offer advice to small businesses. Another early catalyst was Adam Werbach, environmentalist and entrepreneur in the Bay Area. “Everyone feels devastated by a pandemic, so we gather resources and skills to make ends meet.” Students at UC Berkeley law school set up a hotline. The task force creates, is well organized, comprehensive resource guide and post it online.

After deficiency in the federal aid program it became clear, Mac Cormac and his volunteer colleagues decided that advice was not enough. More access to low-interest loans is needed. Even more.

The federal salary protection program defines a company with up to 500 employees as “small.” The California program is for businesses with no more than 75 employees. Most recipients will have far less than that, organizers said. The $ 1 billion program, called the Small Business Rebuilding Fund, is basically a loan program, not a grant program.

Morse from Berkeley’s Haas School helped arrange the program. The main objective is to reduce the interest rates for small business owners to realistic levels while “eliminating the risk” of investment for those who are dealing with money.

That requires guarantees of government loans and leather lenders in the game. Applicable businesses must demonstrate that they will be “feasible” after a period of disparity. “By using limited taxpayers’ money, we need to do it in a way that maximizes the return to the economy, so that the current government debt supports economic growth,” Morse said.

California Governor Gavin Newsom has set aside $ 50 million for the seed program, with another $ 50 million in his budget for legislative approval. The loan program will help small businesses access these funds. This group lobbied Congress to add money to a small business loan program that funds could use. The California group also collects money from philanthropic organizations.

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Kiva, a San Francisco-based crowdfunded loan distributor for “no bank account” small businesses around the world, will manage the program. Loans will be collected, in Wall Street style, with collections assessed for risk rather than individual loans. Commercial lenders will be repaid first, final philanthropy. Some grants will be given to businesses that can demonstrate a strong business plan. Law firms including Morrison & Foerster and the Cooley Silicon Valley power station offer pro bono advice.

Mac Cormac said people from seven states have so far approached the California group to learn about the program and maybe create their own program.

It takes effort and cooperation, said Mark Herbert, California representative for Small Business Majority. If small businesses cannot get access to capital, and soon, “the effects of the ripple and economic devastation that will follow will be incalculable,” he said. “But I’m an optimist. I hope that policy makers and other leaders will do everything in their power to ensure we have the tools to prevent that from happening.”

A billion dollars is a lot of money, said restaurant owner Rodriguez. “But it’s a lot cheaper than letting all these businesses collapse.”

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Thiago Monteiro in 14th and 15th before the arrival of the WTCR in Portugal – Observer



Thiago Monteiro in 14th and 15th before the arrival of the WTCR in Portugal - Observer

Portuguese driver Thiago Monteiro (Honda) finished 14th and 15th this Sunday in the two World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) races held in Aragon, Spain, which precede the Vila Real race.

The Portuguese rider always rode in the tail, he was hindered by the fact that Honda had more excess weight than his rivals.

“If they told me that I would be in this position, I would not believe it. But the reality is that we have not been able to withstand a number of adversities. From the moment when the pace is much lower than other rivals, we are prepared in advance. It’s heartbreaking,” the Portuguese rider began his explanation after the fourth round of the championship.

The Portuguese rider struggled to find the best balance in his Civic, as did his teammate, Hungarian Attila Tassi.


“We still had problems, and we could not reach the full potential of the car. It was very difficult, unpleasant and discouraging, especially since we are going to Vila Real and this scenario does not suit me. But we will have to continue to look for our own path and believe that everything will work out, ”Thiago Monteiro concluded.

Belgian Giles Magnus (Audi) and Spaniard Mikel Ascona (Hyundai) won both races on Sunday.

Ascona leads the league with 129 points, while Thiago Monteiro is 16th with 12 points.

The WTCR competition in Portugal will take place next weekend in Vila Real.

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Joao Almeida became the champion of Portugal in cycling



Joao Almeida became the champion of Portugal in cycling

This Sunday, Portuguese cyclist João Almeida (UAE-Emirates) became the Portuguese champion in cross-country cycling for the first time, winning the elite national championships held in Mogaduro.

In his first online race since Joao Almeida was forced to pull out of the Vuelta Italia after testing positive for the coronavirus, he won his first national title since becoming time trial champion in 2021.

Almeida crossed the finish line in Mogadora, covering the 167.5 km distance in 4:08.42 hours, 52 seconds behind Thiago Antunes (Efapel) second, Fabio Costa (Glassdrive-Q8-Anicolor) third, and Rui Oliveira (UAE). – Emirates), fourth.

In the end, João Almeida stated that he was “very pleased” with the victory, admitting that the race “went very well” and thanking his teammates.

Former national champion José Neves (W52-FC Porto) did not finish the race, as did Rafael Reis (Glassdrive-Q8-Anicolor) who won the time trial title on Friday.

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Portuguese military admits ‘it will take time’ until territory is taken under control



Portuguese military admits 'it will take time' until territory is taken under control

The “path” chosen for about a year in the fight against rebel groups in the province of Cabo Delgado in northern Mozambique is “the right one,” Brigadier General Nuno Lemos Pires said in an interview with Lusa.

“Now, while the situation is not fully under control, we all understand that, as in any other counter-terrorism situation in the world, it will take a lot of time,” added the head of the European military training mission, although he acknowledged that this “ does not mean that sometimes there are no fears and failures.

However, “this is part of what constitutes an action taken against terrorists who operate in a very wide area, who in themselves have the initiative and the ability to hide in a very wide area,” he said.

In fact, he stressed, many of the recent attacks that have taken place in the south of Cabo Delgado in recent weeks are due to the fact that Islamist extremist rebels had to “flight from the north” of the province.

“Because this was a consolidated military operation carried out in close cooperation between the Mozambique Defense and Security Forces (FSS), [e com as forças d]Rwanda and SAMIM (Southern African Development Community Mission (SADC) in Mozambique), who were clearing out the intervention areas that existed in the area, the reaction of many terrorists was to flee the area, go further south, where they were not pursued. , and make new attacks,” he explained.

“In such cases, the initiative almost always belongs to the terrorists. There are few of them, they hide among the population, they move over very large territories, with a lot of dense vegetation, it becomes very difficult to find them, but you can easily move,” he continued.

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On the other hand, the Portuguese general emphasized, “it is now difficult for these groups” “to concentrate power and forces for large-scale operations, as was the case three years ago during the conquests, such as Mocimboa da Praia or Palma.” ,” he said.

“They don’t have that ability. Many of these attacks even demonstrate [estratégias] survival [clássicas das guerrilhas]. They’re looking for food, they’re looking for supplies, they’re searching deep down for a place where they can survive, because the area is already under quite a lot of control. [por parte] Mozambique FSS, Rwandan forces and SAMIM,” he explained.

In this context, Nuno Lemos Pires highlighted the “quick response” of the Mozambican authorities to each of these developments, starting with head of state Filipe Nyusi.

“I think it is exemplary that the moment there is a movement or a series of significant attacks in other areas, we immediately see the President of Mozambique heading north, linking up with his Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces (CEMGFA). , with the Minister of Defense, with the Minister of the Interior, and outline plans on the ground for a quick change of equipment and the ability to respond to such movements,” he said.

During one such trip to northern Mozambique in mid-June, Mozambican Interior Minister Arsenia Massingue said that Mozambican police were informing the “enemy” – the rebel forces in Cabo Delgado – about the positions of the FDS and allied forces on the ground.

However, Lemos Pires downplayed the situation. “We must be aware that there are infiltrations in any political system. It’s happening everywhere. Ignoring this dimension is tantamount to ignoring what is happening everywhere,” he said.

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“I don’t know of a single case of insurgency, counterinsurgency, terrorist or counter-terrorist combat where these leaks didn’t happen frequently. You need to be careful. .

In addition to the vastness of the territory that has been the scene of conflict and the topography favorable to insurgent guerrilla strategies, the porous borders with Tanzania to the north of Cabo Delgado and Malawi to the northwest also pose a danger. challenges the SDF and allied forces of SAMIM and Rwanda.

Lemos Pires also relativized this question. “We are talking about transnational terrorism, and it is good to understand that the situation in the north of Mozambique, in Cabo Delgado, is not limited and is not limited – and has never been limited – exclusively and exclusively to this region. A phenomenon that exists throughout Africa. , namely in Central Africa,” he said.

The UETM commander even took advantage of this circumstance to formulate an “extended response” to “a broad problem, a regional one, and the solution must also be a broad regional one.”

Therefore, “it’s very good what we see here on the ground, in fact, this is the unification of the efforts of regional African forces to try to deal with a problem that really worries everyone,” he concluded.

“What happens in one region can affect another. That is why it is in everyone’s interest that these groups be fought, detained and that the narrative that they are currently spreading can be counteracted – we hope that there are fewer and fewer successes,” the Portuguese general stressed.


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Lusa/The End

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