Report Shows How Local Governments Can Use American Rescue Plan Funding to Focus on Small Business

Date: 25 Jan 2022 | posted in: Press Release | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Contact: Jessica Del Fiacco,

 New Report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance: How Local Governments Can Use American Rescue Plan Funding to Focus on Small Business

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 25, 2022) – Today, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance issued a report that shows how local communities can seize the opportunity presented by the American Rescue Plan Act’s funding to rethink their local economic development strategies to favor local, independent businesses. Titled Small Businesses’ Big Moment, the report spotlights an unprecedented opportunity for cities to place small businesses at the core of their economic development plans rather than chasing big corporations.

If adopted, this would represent a significant shift for most towns and cities that have long courted large companies with tax incentives, free infrastructure, and other subsidies. The report notes that that approach leaves communities “vulnerable to a host of problems, including increased industry concentration, greater income inequality, and diminished economic resilience.”

Rather than chasing big businesses with giveaways, the report shows how local governments can use ARPA funding to double down on their independent businesses and the many benefits they provide — good local jobs, paths to prosperity for local entrepreneurs, keeping wealth in the community, and contributing to a distinct sense of local character.

The report offers a dozen ways in which local leaders and policymakers can use ARPA money to implement small business-centric economic development strategies, with a number of examples of actions communities have already taken, such as::

  • Charleston, W.V. is considering using $500,000 of its ARPA allocation to help cover some of the costs of developing a new community-owned grocery store in the city’s West Side.
  • Stanislaus County, Calif., which announced plans to use $5 million of its ARPA allocation to create a new Community Development Corporation and Community Development Financial Institution focused on helping new and existing small businesses.
  • Ingham County, Mich., which has committed $11 million of its allocation to an omnibus grant program that addresses a number of short- and long-term small business pandemic impacts through targeted grants, a revolving loan fund, long-term technical assistance, small business succession planning, and childcare facility expansion.

The report was authored by Kennedy Smith, a Senior Researcher at ILSR and one of the nation’s foremost experts on commercial district revitalization and independent business development. 

Read the report here

Read a two-pager about the report’s findings here


About the Institute for Local Self-Reliance:
The Institute for Local Self-Reliance has a vision of thriving, equitable communities. We are a national research and advocacy organization that partners with allies across the country to build an American economy driven by local priorities and accountable to people and the planet.