CARES and COVID-19: New Small Business Funding Opportunities

Get the lowdown on the latest resources available to your small business in the Coronavirus crisis.

May 4, 2020
Get the lowdown on the latest resources available to your small business in the Coronavirus crisis.

LAST UPDATED: APRIL 8, 2020

With the world experiencing mandatory lockdowns and social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve all been forced to change life as we know it, resulting in financial, emotional, and physical stress across the board.

And while it’s true that everyone has been affected by this temporary crisis, small businesses are feeling a particular brand of pain. While many communities are doing their best to “support local” and trying to do business as usual, those efforts alone may not be enough to sustain all the organizations that deserve to stick around through this crisis and beyond. 

Luckily, there are several opportunities that allow qualified small businesses to keep paying their employees and hold tight until the pandemic crisis has passed. The information is out there, but it can be confusing to figure out how to find it and what you need to do. 

We’re hoping to make that easier. Read on to learn how to access funding that’ll help your organization survive the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Do I qualify as a small business?

By Small Business Association (SBA) standards, a small business is defined as an entity that employs fewer than 500 people (including most non-profits.  

Who can help me find out what’s available?

Regionally: Depending on what you’re looking for and where you live, there could be several regional funding programs you might be qualified for. Reach out to your local bank, Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Organization, or Small Business Development Center to learn about state and local programs.

Nationally: The Small Business Association (SBA) is a valuable resource for information about the national resources being implemented specifically for this crisis. In particular, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act has earmarked $349 billion for small businesses. All loans within this act hold the same terms, which are a two-year maturity at a 1% fixed rate with payments deferred for six months. Here are the programs you want to paying particular attention to:

  1. If you have employees you plan on keeping and feel strongly about not laying off, you will want to focus on the Payroll Protection Program (PPP). This provides forgivable loans up to $10 million without loan fees, repayment fees, or collateral. To be eligible for forgiveness for the PPP, your business will need to keep all current employees for an 8-week period. Payroll costs, rent, and utilities incurred during the covered 8-week period, compared to the previous year, will be forgiven. The maximum funding this program can provide is for employee compensation (wages and commissions), health care benefits, rent, utilities, and interest on any debt obligations incurred before the covered period. 

    *
    The PPP loan money is expunged as of April 15th after the SBA approved almost 1.7 million loans since launching April 3rd. There is discussion about additional funding becoming available within the program, but it is not available yet.

    **A rescue bill was signed on 4/24 including another $310 billion for the PPP, which allowed the SBA to start taking applications again as of 4/27.

  1. The SBA is also offering low-interest loans through its Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) program. Through an EIDL, the CARES Act also allows for an advance of up to $10,000. The advance is a great option if you are cash-short at the moment and are in an emergency situation. It’ll also be forgiven and available within days of an accepted application. 

    To apply for a COVID-19 EIDL, visit covid19relief.sba.gov. To apply for an advance on an EIDL, visit sba.gov/disaster
  2. Another form of relief that the SBA is offering is the (aptly-named) Small Business Debt Relief. This opportunity provides an automatic payment for the principal, interest, and fees of current 7(a), 504, and microloans for a period of six months issued prior to September 27, 2020. If your disaster loan was in “regular servicing” status on March 1, 2020, the SBA is providing automatic deferments through December 31, 2020. 

    Contact your loan servicing officer to find out if your loan is automatically deferred. For more information, visit https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/sba-debt-relief

Is this a good idea in the long run?        

It’s understandably difficult to know if the decisions you’re making for your business right now will be beneficial or cause further stress. The good news is that applying for these funding options won’t hurt your chances of receiving alternative loans. 

Of course, whatever you choose, it’s always important to do your own research and follow the advice of your local lender when it comes to funding strategies and opportunities. There may be industry or community-specific resources they can connect you to, beyond regularly available programs.

Pressing On

As we collectively navigate these trying times, it’s vital to never lose sight of why you started your journey in the first place. For entrepreneurs, innovators, industry leaders, and everyone in between, we believe there’s tremendous hope and opportunity for you to emerge from this crisis boldly — with strength, clarity, and the ability to leverage your unique value more than before.

We encourage you to contact your local lenders as soon as possible to find out more about funds and programs available to you. And please reach out to the Only Co. team if there is anything we can answer or clarify for you — we're always happy to help!

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