BOISE, Idaho — Capitol Hill is buzzing with optimism that the second wave of federal aid for small businesses, tallying at $470 billion, will pass through Congress soon and will replenish the Paycheck Protection Program.
However, until that aid arrives in the Gem State, a new initiative from Sen. Jim Risch and the Idaho Department of Commerce is meant to spur more spending at local businesses.
The first wave of federal aid made it clear that there is no guarantee that small businesses will get the aid that they need to stay afloat but the Support Local Gems Initiative hopes to guide people's spending to local businesses across the Gem State.
The initiative is a statewide campaign to encourage Idahoans to shop at small businesses.
Gov. Brad Little, Idaho's Congressional delegation, along with dozens of city and state organizations are all pitching in on the effort to stabilize the foundations of Idaho's small businesses.
"What its designed to do is raise the awareness amongst Idaho people how important our small businesses are," Risch said. "They are about half of the economy, they employ about half of the people and they are absolutely critical to our American economy. Big businesses can survive this kind of upheaval better than small businesses can. They have unique challenges and they are having a difficult time."
The Support Local Gems Initiatives is set to begin on Friday in hopes that the state's small businesses will get a shot in the arm to tie them over until the second round of funding for the Paycheck Protection Program kicks in.
"We're asking everybody this Friday to do something for small businesses," Risch said. "Get online, buy a gift card or go get something to take out, or if you wanna fill up your fly fishing box for this summer... do something for small businesses."
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