Increasing Resiliency in Pennsylvania’s Small Businesses by Jacob Mohring

July 16, 2021

This essay was written by SEEDS’ 2021 Burkhardt Memorial Scholarship winner, Jacob Mohring.

Small businesses play a crucial role in serving communities and supporting the economies throughout Pennsylvania. In order to effectively prepare for and handle future emergencies, small businesses must implement strategies that will increase their resiliency and prevention of closure. One strategy is that state and national governments can work to lower interest rates, advertise state grants, and enact tax breaks for small businesses. At the organization level, an effective strategy is to increase social media and online presence. Lastly, local governments and townships may petition or apply for additional assistance from the state or national government within the region for small businesses. 

The Pennsylvania state and national government can have massive impact on helping small businesses to prepare for the next emergency. Crises can come in many different forms from natural disasters to pandemics, and thus it is important to prepare for a variety of problems. Reducing interests rates can be accomplished through collaboration with banks and the Federal Reserve. This may be of great assistance for smaller businesses that have to take out loans as a result of an economic hardship from an emergency. Also, PPP forgivable loans, or Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) may by instituted by the Small Business Administration at the federal level. Tax breaks provide yet another medium through which small businesses may find relief after a crisis. 

Establishing additional grants at the Pennsylvania state level may also serve a dual purpose in promoting sustainability within regions as well as efficiency at the business level. For example, implementing a solar power and storage system for a small business will promote clean energy and possibly eliminate electrical costs after the system is paid for. This extra money saved from the efficient power system can be allocated towards an emergency fund and ultimately make the company more prepared for a disaster. Additional grants can be established within communities which will incentivize the push for sustainability in small enterprises. On a larger scale, statistics show that nearly 143,000 jobs may be created in Pennsylvania with the modernization of the electrical grid according to an infographic from Reimagine Appalachia. Furthermore, these jobs may also benefit smaller businesses through the stimulation of the state’s economy. 

Establishing a greater online and social presence is an extremely beneficial tool that can assist small businesses in numerous ways. Through promoting a local business online, the company adds an entirely new medium of social networking, marketing, and an opportunity to gain community support. Reaching out to local businesses and individuals online can allow a region to collaborate on how to prepare for the next emergency, as well as strengthen their resources and community support. Establishing an online presence could require a large amount of planning and infrastructure, however, the U.S. Small Business Administration provides excellent information such as blogs on building online business plans. These free resources may help a business to expand their commerce and ultimately increase their resiliency against a future emergency. 

Townships and local governments have a large potential to assist in a small business’s preparation and response to an emergency. Specifically, local governments are able to supervise regional economies and developments more astutely which is essential for preventing financial crises. Local governments can petition and request for the allocation of additional funding and resources to areas which can ensure the continuity of a regional economy after an emergency. Furthermore, townships can host community events in which small businesses showcase their products and services, while presenting sustainable and efficient methods to them as well. This idea would have mutual benefit because it allows for businesses to interact and gain support from the community and for the town to present local companies with environmentally friendly methods to improve their business’s efficiency. 

Small businesses are crucial sector within the Pennsylvania economy, so it is important to ensure that they remain resilient in the face of an emergency. This may be effectively reinforced by establishing policies and opportunities for economic improvement at an enterprise, local, and national level. The Pennsylvania and national governments can collaborate to reduce interest and tax rates as well as allocating additional grants centered around sustainability for small businesses. Enterprises may increase their presence online through social media and by establishing digital marketing. Furthermore, local governments and townships have the ability to request additional funding from the state for small businesses and arrange events within the community to increase preparedness for an emergency. Through the implementation of these strategies, Pennsylvania’s small businesses will be more prepared for the next calamity, which will ensure resiliency. 

Works Cited 
“Online Business.” Small Business Administration, 2021,
PERI. “Reimagine Appalachia Resources.” Reimagine Appalachia,