As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to decimate the local economy in Michigan, many small business owners believe that the government is not doing enough to assist them. Although they offered the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) meant to help small businesses, the result initially was that many of them were left out of the original pool of loans. The loans ended up going to the larger scaled small businesses, some smaller scaled businesses, but when the money ran out it left a lot of local, family owned and operated businesses to fend for themselves. This resulted in many closures and discord amongst business owners and government officials.

To help bring a voice to these small businesses, Goldman Sachs 10KSB created 10KSB Voices to make sure their alumni’s voices are heard and to speak directly with their government leaders. Sterling Oil & Sterling Services are alumni of the 10KSB program in Detroit, MI. The Michigan alums had their opportunity to discuss their concerns on Wednesday, January 13 during a Virtual Capitol Hill day, run by the Midwest Regional Director, Janetta King. King was able to secure Michigan Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters as well as local Congressman and Congresswoman that represent the areas in which the small businesses are located. Sterling met with Michigan Congressmen Andy Levin, who serves the area Sterling operates within.

The Senators spoke at length about the new round of PPP loans and other programs they are trying to pass to help small businesses survive. The issues that were brought up during the meeting by the small business participants included 1099 employees being left out to dry, small businesses and their employees with little to no assistance while larger corporations continue to get most of the support. The government’s inability to steer them through this pandemic and potential change in policy has many concerned about their own businesses.

Sterling’s main concern is that the new administration wants to kill the oil and gas industry through legislation but offer no assistance for those businesses to move into green energy solutions. These companies, including Sterling are more than happy to transition some of their business to green energy. However, they would like help from their elected officials to support their diversification by offering grants or incentives. As it currently sits, the incoming government is adamant about shutting their industry down with no regard to their owners, operators, and employee’s welfare.

Sterling plans to follow-up with the individuals they met with last week and detail some of their ideas, one of which was shredding tires to reuse on playgrounds. Sterling or any of these companies in the gas and oil field, are more than happy to outfit or build facilities to offer green initiatives. Another example of something Sterling or someone in their industry could do is create a facility that breaks down plastic scraps and turns it into oil through pyrolysis technology.

As we move forward into 2021, the relationships between small business owners and our elected officials are going to be paramount. Following a year where many of them felt left in the cold, it is important for events like 10KSB Voices to exist. It gives owners direct access to their local and state officials to address their concerns, listen to their issues, and discuss potential solutions.

Sterling Oil is a bulk liquid transportation and petrolatum company servicing the Midwest. For more information please contact them at 248-298-2973 or email at