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March 23: Information and resources amid COVID-19

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As communities take appropriate steps to limit the spread of COVID-19, we want to share resources from the federal, state and local governments to help small businesses during these unprecedented times. 

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but highlights of many available programs. You should check with your governor’s office and local officials for the latest information on assistance available in your community. Here’s the latest:

Federal Resources

 

  • Small Business Administration Loans - The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19. SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in disaster loans and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. Check the SBA website to see if your area has been declared eligible for disaster loan assistance.

  • Student Loans - All borrowers with federally held student loans will automatically have their interest rates set to 0% for a period of at least 60 days. In addition, each of these borrowers will have the option to suspend their payments for at least two months to allow them greater flexibility during the national emergency. This will allow borrowers to temporarily stop their payments without worrying about accruing interest. Any borrower who has experienced a change in income can contact their loan servicer to discuss lowering their monthly payment. For more information visit StudentAid.gov/coronavirus for details.

  • Federal Tax Deferments - The U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced that the tax filings and payments for all federal income taxes (including self-employment tax) due on April 15, 2020, regardless of amount, will now be due on July 15, 2020. Taxpayers are not required to file any documentation to take advantage of this delay, and no interest or penalties will be assessed in connection with this extension.  Some states like California and Iowa have also extended deadlines. You should check with a tax professional to determine the best course for your tax situation, and check with your state tax authority for any state-level extensions.

State Resources

 

  • California - The California State Treasurer has put together a list of state and local programs for small businesses in the state. In addition, the state is providing disaster loans of up to $1 million for small business borrowers as well as $500 to $10,000 loans for low-wealth entrepreneurs in declared disaster areas. The state’s Employment Development Department is also providing a work-sharing program for employers who need to reduce work hours, support teams for businesses planning closures or layoffs, and deadline extensions for filing payroll reports and taxes.

  • Florida - The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program is currently available to small business owners located in all Florida counties statewide that experienced economic damage as a result of COVID-19. These short-term, interest-free working capital loans are intended to “bridge the gap” between the time a major catastrophe hits and when a business has secured longer-term recovery resources, such as sufficient profits from a revived business, receipt of payments on insurance claims or federal disaster assistance.

  • Maine - The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) has created the COVID-19 Relief Business Direct Loan Program to provide FAME Direct Loans of up to $50,000 with special terms available to Maine-based businesses experiencing interruption or hardship due to COVID-19.

 

  • Massachusetts - The Commonwealth has created a $10 million Small Business Recovery Loan Fund that will provide up to $75,000 to businesses with fewer than 50 employees that are experiencing an economic injury from COVID-19. Loans are immediately available to eligible businesses with no payments due for the first six months.

  • Michigan - The Michigan Small Business Relief Program will provide up to $20 million in support for small businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19. The funding is divided between $10 million in small business grants and $10 million in small business loans to support businesses facing drastic reductions in cash flow and the continued support of their workforce.

  • New Mexico - The state Economic Development Department has created a program to assist businesses seeking emergency loans or lines of credit to deal with negative economic impacts from COVID-19. NMEDD can guarantee a portion of a loan or line of credit up to 80% of the principal or $50,000. Loan proceeds are flexible and can be used for (and not limited to) the following: working capital, inventory, and payroll.

  • Washington - Washington state has created a $5 million grant program for small businesses statewide using the Strategic Reserve Fund (SRF). The Department of Commerce is putting the finishing touches to the program’s guidelines and application.

  • Wisconsin - Wisconsin created the Small Business 20/20 Program to provide funds to Wisconsin-based Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) to make grants to existing loan clients to mitigate short-term cash flow issues and protect jobs and public health in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Approved CDFIs and collaboratives will make program grants available to for-profit businesses that are current loan recipients in good standing as of 3/1/20 with the approved CDFI and/or its collaborating CDFIs. These businesses must have 20 or fewer full-time or part-time employees and greater than $0 but less than $2 million in annual revenues. 

 

City Resources:

  • Atlanta - To ensure the viability of city businesses and to help sustain employment, Invest Atlanta has established a Business Continuity Loan Fund (BCLF) with $1.5 million of funding from the City of Atlanta. The fund will offer small businesses zero-interest loans to address a lack of working capital and cash flows as a result of reduced consumer demand, the ability to fulfill product or service orders and other economic conditions.

  • Chicago - The City is establishing a $100 million Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund, which will help to provide small businesses with emergency cash flow during this immediate health crisis. Funds will be provided to eligible businesses as low-interest loans.

 

  • Denver - The city is rolling out a new small business grant program that addresses the most immediate needs of the business community. The program prioritizes those industries who are most impacted by the pandemic, such as the food industry, nail salons, barbershops, home childcare providers, and retail shops. By providing up to $7,500 in cash grants to those most vulnerable, this program is designed to assist eligible small businesses that may have had to temporarily close, have difficulty with paying their rent and utilities, or have had to lay off staff.

  • Hillsboro (OR) - The City has committed up to $500,000 in grants to help small businesses and entrepreneurs immediately offset some of the economic impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Qualified businesses are eligible to receive up to a $5,000 grant between March 23 and April 30, 2020. Priority will be given to those businesses that are a food and drink establishment, education or daycare facility, and businesses that are reliant on large gatherings of people, and to businesses that have 10 or fewer employees.

 

  • Los Angeles - The City of Los Angeles established a Small Business Emergency Microloan Program to provide the financing needed to strengthen small business enterprises. The loans can be used for reasonable and eligible working capital expenses.

 

  • New York City - The Department of Small Business Services says it will offer financial assistance to small businesses in the form of loans and grants. Businesses with fewer than 100 employees who have seen sales decreases of 25% or more will be eligible for zero-interest loans of up to $75,000 to help mitigate losses in profit. The City is also offering small businesses with fewer than 5 employees a grant to cover 40% of payroll costs for two months (an average of $6,000) to help retain employees. Eligible small businesses who would like to learn more about these programs should call 311 for assistance.

 

  • Sacramento - The City of Sacramento has established a $1 million economic relief fund for businesses affected by COVID-19. The fund will provide zero-percent interest loans of up to $25,000 per business.

  • San Francisco - The city has created a Small Business Resiliency Fund allowing small businesses impacted by COVID-19 to access up to $10,000 for employee salaries and rent. The city is also allowing businesses to defer taxes and fees in some circumstances.

  • Seattle - The city is committing approximately $1.5 million in one-time Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to the Small Business Stabilization Fund, an emergency fund that provides working capital grants in amounts up to $10,000 to qualifying small businesses. The business owner must have a low- or moderate-income, five employees or less, and a physical location in Seattle to quality.

 

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