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All workers at Fresno tech company Bitwise Industries placed on furlough

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LATEST: The crash of Bitwise Industries is sending ripples across communities

Read the transcript for this report below.


ALEX BURKE, HOST: The Fresno-based company Bitwise Industries has furloughed all its employees due to what its CEOs are calling “acute financial distress.” KVPR’s Esther Quintanilla tells us more.

ESTHER QUINTANILLA: In a statement to the Fresno Bee, Bitwise co-founder and CEO Jake Soberal said the decision is a “very temporary action” and in the company’s “best interest.” The tech-company employs more than 900 employees in Fresno, Merced, Bakersfield and several other cities across the country.

QUINTANILLA: The sign of financial trouble comes months after the city of Fresno and Bitwise unveiled a project to connect small businesses to digital tools and marketing. The million dollar grant for the Digital Empowerment Center was funded by money the city received from the American Rescue Plan Act. To date, the city has dispersed half that amount to Bitwise. Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer says the city is communicating with the tech company to determine if the program will continue and whether any funding will need to be returned. For KVPR News, I’m Esther Quintanilla

Esther Quintanilla reports on diverse communities for KVPR through the Central Valley News Collaborative, which includes The Fresno Bee, Vida en el Valle, KVPR and Radio Bilingüe.