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Research Publications > Spotlights > COVID-19 and Social Capital


As local economic systems continue to reel from the effects of COVID-19, there is a need for policy innovation that goes beyond what the public and nonprofit sector typically does for disaster recovery. We summarize existing federal, state, and local level responses through the lens of what the extant literature suggests might be most effective in sustaining small business ecosystems. While it will be some time before we can assess how different initiatives succeeded or failed in response to the crisis, data suggest strategies that engage in capacity-building community partnerships are key for recovery. We highlight a few examples of emerging innovation in this space.

Why This Matters

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on small and medium-sized businesses will likely persist for decades. Policy responses to this event have varied across the local and state level. The data suggest the patchwork policy quilt that has emerged is insufficient to help Main Street firms.

Suggested Citation

McCall, Jamie and Teshanee Williams. 2020. “Social Capital in the Era of Social Distancing: Community Development Responses to COVID-19.” Carolina Small Business Development Fund. Raleigh, NC. https://doi.org/10.46712/covid19.social.capital.


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