Detroit-area women business owners discuss issues with federal officials

Natalie M. King of Dunamis Clean Energy Partners speaks with U.S. Representatives Brenda Lawrence, Haley Stevens and Rashida Tlaib ahead of a roundtable discussion on women-owned small businesses

Southfield — During the pandemic, Tara Young, owner of 44 Burrito in Detroit, had to gradually reduce her opening days as she lost nearly 80% of her staff.

“I didn’t have a break,” she said. “We were feeding the frontline workers. I’m taking a break now because of the lack of employees.

Young was among several women small business owners and leaders in sectors such as manufacturing and construction to voice their concerns this week during a roundtable in Southfield with Isabel Guzman, Administrator of the US Small Business Administration.

U.S. Representative Brenda Lawrence, D-Southfield, moderated the conversation at Lawrence Technological University’s Centrepolis Accelerator in honor of Women’s History Month. She was joined by Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist and fellow Representatives Haley Stevens, D-Waterford Township, and Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit.

Guzman said the SBA has issued more than $33 billion in pandemic relief through initiatives such as the Paycheck Protection Program and COVID-19 Economic Disaster Loans.