The Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee heard from a cybersecurity firm president that his company might not be able to survive if the government doesn't reopen its doors.
Antwanye Ford, president of Enlightened, Inc., in Washington was among many small business owners who testified Tuesday (Oct. 15) that the shutdown was, as committee chair Mary Landrieu (D-La.) pointed out, more than a "pinprick."
Ford pointed out small businesses will lose revenue they will never recover when the government reopens. Ford has said he had to lay off 10 employees. Those were people off who had come to his corporate picnics, he said, and he had to look them in the face. "That is not a pinprick." He said his line of credit is backed by his home. If he goes out of business, that goes away. "This is not a pinprick.
Ford also said some cybersecurity R&D companies, companies "moving the needle" on protecting critical infrastructure, are going out of business due to the shutdown.
Several witnesses made the point that they had put up all they had as collateral to build their business, so that it was not just the company at risk from broken government.
Ford was interviewed last week for a story about the shutdown on BET.com in which he said his $15 million business might not be around in six months given the shut down government agencies with which he has contracts, including DOD and Justice.
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) asked what the proposal only to extend the debt ceiling limit deadline until February (from Oct. 17) would have, which is the current deal being talked about in the House and Senate.
Barun Singh, CTO of tech startup WegoWise said the series of manufactured crises are hardly a pinprick but instead a domino effect impacting businesses down the chain.
The witnesses talked about those dominoes, like hotels that can't break ground and may miss out on the summer tourist season, or parks losing millions in unrecoverable seasonal tourist revenue (there isn't any leaf-peeping when the leaves are gone).
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said that the shutdown has done permanent damage to individual businesses and overall competitiveness, including new ways to innovate in cybersecurity.
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