How to Help Small Businesses Survive COVID-19

12 Pages Posted: 10 Apr 2020

See all articles by Todd H. Baker

Todd H. Baker

Richard Paul Richman Center for Business, Law & Public Policy

Kathryn Judge

Columbia Law School; ECGI

Date Written: April 10, 2020


Small businesses are among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis. Many are shuttered, and far more face cash flow constraints, raising questions about just how many will survive this recession. The government has responded with a critical forgivable loan program, but for many of these businesses, this program alone will not provide the cash they need to retain workers, pay rent, and help their business come back to life when Americans are no longer sheltering in place. This essay calls on regulators to find new and creative ways to work with existing intermediaries, including banks and online lenders, who have the infrastructure and tools needed to help small businesses get the additional loans they need to survive and thrive. Leveraging existing institutions could enhance the speed, scale, and scope of the government’s response, all critical virtues in the efforts to support small business.

Keywords: COVID-19, small business, economic crisis, banking, fintech

JEL Classification: E3, E58, G21, G23, G28, P43, P48

Suggested Citation

Baker, Todd H. and Judge, Kathryn, How to Help Small Businesses Survive COVID-19 (April 10, 2020). Columbia Law and Economics Working Paper No. 620, Available at SSRN: or

Todd H. Baker

Richard Paul Richman Center for Business, Law & Public Policy ( email )

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New York, NY 10027
United States

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Kathryn Judge (Contact Author)

Columbia Law School ( email )

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New York, NY 10025
United States


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