Chris Holman interviews Emily Heintz to find out about this new study
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – EntryPoint, a nonprofit research institution that delivers comprehensive research insights and implements effective data-driven programs to promote entrepreneurship across the Midwest, Monday announced the release of the Washtenaw County COVID-19 Business Impact Report. These new findings show the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on businesses since the beginning of EntryPoint’s research in May 2020. The comprehensive research insights provide information on the current state of Washtenaw County businesses to aid policymakers, foundations, and other community-focused organizations in their continued efforts to support entrepreneurs and their businesses.
Emily Heintz, Founder and Managing Director of EntryPoint joins Chris Holman on the Michigan Business Beat to discuss the recent findings of the NEW Washtenaw County COVID-19 Business Impact Report.
To provide this update to the COVID-19 Business Impact Report, EntryPoint surveyed all businesses located within the county. In total, 459 Businesses across Washtenaw County responded to the survey. Of the respondents, 76% operate with fewer than 10 employees, and 93% of companies have fewer than 25 employees.
“Small businesses are a vital part of Washtenaw County’s economy. Now that it’s nearly a year since the initial onset of the pandemic, we wanted to follow up with entrepreneurs to gain further insight into the impact it has continued to have on their businesses, work environment, mental health and find out what the community can do to remain diligent in their support of local businesses,” said Emily Heintz, founder and managing director of EntryPoint. “Fortunately, as many of the findings in this report suggest, Washtenaw County’s business owners have demonstrated an inspiring ability to carefully navigate their way through a difficult time in human history.”
Washtenaw County Business Landscape
● Total revenue from 2020 was down 19% from 2019. Holiday season revenue proportionally decreased; while seasonal revenue tends to make up a bit over 10% of Washtenaw County business revenue, it consisted of only 9% of total revenue in 2020.
● Companies in the hospitality, hotels, restaurants, and service sector earned 42% less revenue in 2020 than in 2019, while entertainment, events, and sports sector businesses earned 35% less. The revenue of companies in the business and professional services sector was down 28% from 2019.
● Retail businesses had an overall increase in their seasonal revenue, which consisted of 15% of their revenue in 2020 (up from 10% in 2019).
● Since the onset of the pandemic, 71% of businesses have applied for loans.
● In May 2020, 74% of applicants had been approved for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Since then, approvals have increased to 92% of applicants. 24% of those applicants have already had their PPP Loan forgiven.
Work Environment & Business Owner State of Mind
● In May 2020, 37% of business owners indicated that they felt completely unprepared for shelter-in-place operations. Now, 50% of businesses have staff working entirely or almost entirely in a virtual capacity.
● 33% of business owners indicated that they would maintain their virtual operations for the foreseeable future.
● 76% of business owners report feeling notably more stressed now than they did prior to the onset of the pandemic.
How to Support Small Businesses in Washtenaw County
● For members of the general public, 27% of businesses indicated that people could most help them through word-of-mouth advertising. The remaining business owners who participated in the study stated that the public could best support them simply by offering them their business and patronage.
● For community support organizations, 29% of entrepreneurs indicated that financial support continues to be a substantial way for community organizations to alleviate some of the pressure they face. Moreover, another 29% reported that organizations could be of most help by encouraging the public to support local businesses, while 31% stated that the organizations would be most helpful by providing marketing support.