The spring shutdowns delivered a gut punch to business owners of everything from salons, daycare centers, to tattoo parlors.
At the onset of the pandemic 140,104 were marked temporarily closed on Yelp.com, but by August that had fallen to 65,769. That drop, however, is not entirely driven by businesses reopening, instead many have simply gone under: More than 97,966 businesses have permanently shut down during pandemic, according to Yelp.com’s Local Economic Impact Report.
And it may only get worse.
While many parts of the economy have begun to hum again, many small businesses are still struggling and report needing further economic aid and stimulus to survive.
In fact, “if economic trends continue at this rate, one in five business owners anticipates they won’t make it until the end of the year,” Kevin Kuhlman, the vice president of federal government relations for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), a nonprofit small business advocacy group, recently told Fortune.
But not all small businesses have been equally affected. According to a Federal Reserve Bank of New York report in August, the number of active Black small business owners fell 41% from February through April (nearly twice the rate of non-Black-owned businesses), as many struggled to access programs like the Paycheck Protection Program.
More aid, however, is still up in the air. Although Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has said that passing a standalone PPP bill would be the “easiest” way to get additional help to small businesses (as there is over $ 130 billion in unused funds), Congress has thus far stalled on passing another package.
Meanwhile, the forgiveness portion for businesses who received loans through the PPP is coming due, although many banks still want more clarity on the process, while advocacy groups have asked smaller loans be forgiven altogether.
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After disrupting a Trump rally, raising millions of dollars for Black Lives Matter, and drawing the ire of the Chilean government, Korean pop music (K-pop) fans appear to be deploying their organizing and fund raising powers in the stock market.
On Monday, Big Hit Entertainment, the management label behind the K-pop supergroup BTS, said in a regulatory filing that its October IPO will be priced at the top end of its set range. The offering will be priced at 135,000 South Korean won ($ 115), which is the upper limit of the 105,000 won ($ 89) to 135,000 won ($ 115) price range the company proposed earlier this month.
Big Hit will be offering roughly 7.1 million new shares in the highly anticipated debut, which Big Hit says may raise the company as much as $ 820 million. Big Hit’s IPO is set to be South Korea’s largest stock offering in the last three years, and it may help continue a hot streak for entertainment firms debuting on South Korea’s exchange.
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The news about Big Hit Entertainment’s offering price appeared to encourage investors on Monday, as stocks for listed South Korean record labels and entertainment companies made strong gains. Record label YG Entertainment’s stock rose 11.98%, while the JYP Entertainment label jumped 9.94%, and entertainment company SM Entertainment clicked up 6.69%.
Big Hit Entertainment’s expected success reflects the growing global reach of BTS and South Korean pop music, but for many retail investors getting a piece of the action isn’t just about betting on its corporate performance.
Members of the ARMY, the self-ascribed title for BTS fans, told Reuters last week that buying stock in Big Hit Entertainment was a sign of their devotion to the group.
“I don’t know about stock valuations,” Kim Seo-hyeon told Reuters. The 12-year-old BTS fan in Seoul had asked her parents to buy Big Hit Entertainment stock. “I know my oppas [BTS band members] are rich but I hope me buying shares make them even richer, so that they can buy something nice to wear, that would make me happy.”
One fan even said that he would be taking out a personal loan in order to bid for a stock in the company.
Upon Big Hit Entertainment’s October debut, the ARMY seems poised to move markets.
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