Fairfax Co. looks at additional ways to boost small businesses

Fairfax County, Virginia, is looking at additional ways to help out its small businesses as the pandemic drags on.

A plan called Fairfax Thrive hopes to give small businesses help where they need it most. The program would offer up to $10,000 worth of services to small businesses in areas including digital marketing and brand development, financial planning, e-commerce and real estate assistance, and staff retention.

Rebecca Moudry, director of the county’s Department of Economic Initiatives, told members of the Board of Supervisors Economic Initiatives Committee that $7 million in funds from the American Rescue Plan Act could be used to help more than 600 businesses.

A majority of the funds — $6.6 million — would be allocated to direct counseling and technical assistance; $100,000 would be toward targeted outreach and engagement; and $300,000 would go toward administration/management.

A staff presentation to the committee presented the results of a survey of regional small business trends, which found that small businesses continue to struggle, with 55% operating at partial capacity. It also showed that financial assistance is no longer the top need of small businesses. Instead, it’s identifying and hiring new employees.

The board could approve the plan in the spring and launch it in the summer.

WTOP’s Abigail Constantino contributed to this report.

John Aaron

John Aaron is a news anchor and reporter for WTOP. After starting his professional broadcast career as an anchor and reporter for WGET and WGTY in Gettysburg, PA, he went on to spend several years in the world of sports media, working for Comcast SportsNet, MLB Network Radio, and WTOP sports.

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