For CDFIs to manifest the intentions set out by Civil Rights leaders to serve both racial and economic justice, we cannot be siloed from one another. We must work together to create lasting systemic change, impactful thought leadership, and transformative policy. While PCV’s day-to-day work centers on our small business clients, our Good Jobs Innovation Lab elevates that work and advances CDFIs and impact investors everywhere.
We were excited to see this recent article about fellow CDFI Entrepreneur Fund from up in Minnesota. In today’s competitive labor market, it’s easier to keep employees than find new ones. High wages, healthcare and retirement are the big-ticket items that often attract and keep employees. The challenge for many small employers is how to offer competitive wages and benefits, especially when their own resources are strapped.
The Entrepreneur Fund is working to apply PCV’s “Good Jobs, Good Business” model to help small businesses across industries to increase their ability to offer benefits. Marshall Hardware in Duluth, an 83-year-old family business with eight employees, offers a retirement plan in which the employer matches up to 3% of the employee’s contribution. They currently have 100% employee participation in the program, though for some time not all participated, said owner Steve Marshall, possibly because “They didn’t feel they had the affordability. But you can’t afford not to take it. All of us are taking it now.”
Marshall Hardware also provides health and dental insurance. At first, the company accessed a larger insurance provider through a trade association and paid 25% of the employee’s insurance cost. Today, Marshall Hardware provides health insurance independently and dental insurance through an association. The company pays 50% of the insurance plan chosen by the employee, which totals $8,000 each month to cover eight employees. “On that end of it, it’s pretty expensive,” said Marshall.
“We’re trying to give somebody something because everybody knows the cost of healthcare is so crazy if you don’t have insurance. Employees are our No. 1 resource, and we want to value that and protect that.” The Entrepreneur Fund refers clients to brokers who can consult on offering healthcare benefits to employees at small businesses.