As the U.S. attempts to slow the spread of COVID-19, most states have issued stay-at-home orders and countless businesses have been forced to shut down. Consequently, small businesses across the country are struggling to stay afloat.
Fortunately, a growing number of small business loans and disaster relief options are emerging to help businesses bridge the gap until the nation is up and running again. Keep reading to learn about the available small business resources and how to get funding for your business during these trying times.
In March, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the largest economic stimulus package in U.S. history worth a whopping $2 trillion. The package includes the following relief programs for financially-strained small businesses.
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan designed to help businesses keep employees on the payroll during the Coronavirus crisis. A temporary expansion of the traditional SBA 7(a) loan program, the Paycheck Protection Program will hopefully allow small business owners to keep their staff employed even while their doors are closed.
Through the PPP, the SBA will guarantee loans of up to $10 million to eligible businesses. (Exact loan amounts are determined by the company’s average monthly payroll.) The SBA will forgive these loans if the business keeps all employees on the payroll for eight weeks at their normal salary levels. In addition to payroll, the business may also use the money only for other qualifying expenses, including rent, mortgage interest, and utilities. However, at least 75% of the amount must be used for payroll.
If your full-time headcount drops or employee salaries and wages decrease, loan forgiveness will be reduced. PPP loan payments will be deferred for six months, and no collateral or personal guarantees are required. The loan has a maturity of two years at an interest rate of 1% with no additional fees.
Small businesses can apply for the PPP through an existing SBA 7(a) lender or any participating federally insured bank or credit union. Small businesses are encouraged to contact their existing lender or bank to ask if they are participating in the program. The PPP will be available to small businesses through June 30, 2020.
A wide range of businesses affected by the Coronavirus pandemic may be eligible for the PPP. This includes small businesses that meet the SBA’s size standards, sole proprietors, independent contractors, self-employed individuals as well as 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations and 501(c)(19) veterans organizations that meet certain standards. To learn more, visit SBA.gov.
During the COVID-19 crisis, the SBA is also offering expanded access to its Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). As part of this program, the SBA will provide working capital loans of up to $2 million to small businesses and nonprofits affected by Coronavirus. For small businesses, the 30-year loans carry an interest rate of 3.75%, while nonprofits will pay a 2.75% interest rate. Payments can be deferred for up to four years, and repayment terms will vary depending on the applicant.
Visit SBA.gov to submit your application.
All small businesses affected by the pandemic may qualify, including businesses with fewer than 500 employees and sole proprietors.
When you apply for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan, you may also choose to receive an emergency grant, which is worth up to $10,000. Even if your business does not qualify for an EIDL, you can still receive the advance.
The amount of the advance is determined by the number of employees you had pre-disaster (as of January 31, 2020). The SBA is providing $1,000 per employee up to a maximum of 10 employees, or $10,000. Sole proprietors are eligible to receive only $1,000. The advance can be used to maintain payroll, pay rent or meet other financial needs.
Visit SBA.gov and request the advance when you apply for the EIDL.
Small business owners and sole proprietors in all U.S. states and territories can apply.
Because there has been an overwhelming demand for federal COVID-19 small business loans, business owners who have applied for these programs are facing lengthy wait-times, loads of red tape and numerous other obstacles. However, many states are also offering grants, emergency loans and other sources of funding to assist cash-strapped businesses.
Here’s how a few cities and states across the country are helping support small businesses in this time of need.
The San Francisco Hardship Emergency Loan Program (SF HELP) is quickly deploying loans of up to $50,000, which can be used for payroll, rent, utilizes, inventory, and other qualifying expenses. Small businesses in San Francisco are eligible for these 0% interest rate loans, which offer a flexible repayment schedule.
Through the City of Los Angeles Small Business Emergency Microloan Program, LA businesses that are responsible for providing low-income jobs may be eligible for an emergency loan of $5,000 to $20,000. The city is offering 0% loans with repayment terms of less than a year or 3-5% percent interest rates on five-year loans.
Denver-based small businesses that have been forced to close due to the pandemic, including restaurants, retail shops, and nail salons, are eligible to receive cash grants of up to $7,500 through the Denver Small Business Emergency Relief Program.
Through the Connecticut Recovery Bridge Loan Program, state-based small businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 100 employees may be eligible to receive 0% interest loans of up to $75,000 or three months of operating expenses (whichever is less).
The City of Chicago has established the $100 million Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund (the Resiliency Fund) to provide small businesses and nonprofits with emergency cash flow during the COVID-19 crisis. Funds will be provided to eligible businesses as low-interest loans.
Structured to complement the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program, the Resiliency Fund will help provide low-interest loans of up to $50,000 to small businesses and nonprofits across the city of Chicago. These loans will have repayment terms of up to five years.
The Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky (CEDIK) is offering grants of up to $3,000 to small businesses hindered by COVID-19. Eligible businesses must be locally owned and operated in one of the following counties: Bell, Breathitt, Clay, Clinton, Estill, Floyd, Harlan, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Martin, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Whitley, and Wolfe. The downtown business must fall under the category of restaurant or experience retail, including the arts, tourism, accommodations, and entertainment.
Through the Louisiana Loan Portfolio Guaranty Program, small businesses with fewer than 100 employees may be eligible to receive loans of up to $100,000. For the first six months, these loans offer 0% interest and with no payments due. After six months, interest rates will not exceed 3.5%.
Minnesota is offering two small business loan programs for businesses impacted by COVID-19: The Small Business Emergency Loan Program provides eligible businesses $2,500 to $35,000 to cover operating expenses. These 0% loans offer 5-year terms and are eligible for forgiveness. The Minnesota Small Business Loan Guarantee Program offers an 80% guarantee on loans of up to $200,000.
Small businesses in Manchester, New Hampshire that have experienced a loss of revenue due to the pandemic may be able to receive up to $25,000 through the Manchester Small Business Recovery Loan Fund. These loans offer a 2% interest rate, and no interest or payment will be due for the first three months.
New Mexico businesses impacted by the pandemic can apply for a loan through the New Mexico Recovery Fund. Based on 2019 operating expenses, loans of up to $10 million will carry interest rates of 3-10% with repayment terms between two and four years.
Oklahoma City-based businesses with up to 50 full-time employees may be eligible to receive no-interest and low-interest loans up to $100,000.
Through the Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grant Program, for-profit small businesses in Washington may be able to receive emergency grants of up to $10,000.
If you are struggling to keep your small business afloat right now, remember you are not alone. With some expert guidance and financial support, your business can weather the storm and resurface stronger than ever.
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