More than 100 Florida small business owners and advocates signed on to a national letter calling on state and federal policymakers to support small business partnerships with digital platforms. As the House Antitrust Subcommittee begins hearings focused on digital platforms, and Florida leaders make tech issues a center of this year’s legislative session, small businesses worry that policymakers fail to recognize how important digital platforms are to small businesses.
“When people think about technology, they sometimes forget about the local businesses who rely on these digital tools,” said Imad “Eddie” Shatila, Owner of A1A Auto Center, located in St. Augustine. “Conversations on technology need to happen but we can’t forget that these tools are keeping wages paid and small businesses open. We hope that these conversations can take place with small businesses in mind and without further harming those who are still actively recovering from a global pandemic.”
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, countless Florida small businesses have relied on Digital Safety Net tools and platforms, including digital advertising, online marketplaces, social media, and financial and organizational software, to stay in business. However, government investigations and lawsuits against digital platforms, marketplaces, and services threaten small businesses’ access to the Digital Safety Net and the economic recovery it enables.
Led by the Connected Commerce Council (3C), the letter specifically urged elected leaders to support and not attack small business partnerships with digital platforms, provide small businesses with capital to help pay employees and keep the lights on, and deliver on funding for small business education and training so they can more easily access tools that comprise the Digital Safety Net.
Hundreds of thousands of small businesses have shut their doors either temporarily or permanently since the pandemic began. 3C studies show small businesses that embraced the Digital Safety Net the earliest had the best chance of surviving the onslaught of closures and economic fallout caused by COVID-19.
“Small businesses have been through a year of agony. Many of them are still taking orders and serving customers because the Digital Safety Net is real, and it kept millions of small businesses open during the pandemic. Elected officials must understand that digital tools are so effective for small businesses because the companies offering them are large, interconnected, constantly innovating, and engaged in fierce competition for small businesses’ dollars. Rather than launching investigations, government should empower small businesses and invest in increasing access to and educational resources for digital tools to help small businesses survive and prepare for the next crisis,” said 3C President Jake Ward.
The Connected Commerce Council is a non-profit membership organization with a single goal: to promote small businesses’ access to essential digital technologies and tools. 3C provides small businesses with access to the market’s most effective digital tools available, provides coaching to optimize growth and efficiency, and cultivates a policy environment that considers and respects the interests of today’s small businesses.