For Small-Business Owners, a Shifting Landscape of Resources

Small businesses across the country have been hit by the pandemic. Entrepreneurs have had to make drastic cuts and look to new business models to survive. But it was financial aid that kept the lights on.

Today, however, many sources, including private foundations and the federal government, that have provided loans and grants, have either closed or halted their financial aid programs.

The biggest player, the Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program, closed in August, and Congress refused to provide further assistance. If there is no deal, it will be up to the new administration to negotiate an aid package at the end of January.

This has put small business owners in a difficult position. After closing his storefront for three months, a public-private partnership loan helped Destiny Burns, 56, founder of CLE Urban Winery, in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, to stay afloat.

In June, Mrs. Burns received a small letter from P.P.P. Loan and funds from the Economic Disaster Loan Program. “It has stabilized my business operations and the E.I.D.L product … is ready, give me a pillow of money that was very helpful and allowed me to sleep at night,” she said.

The funds were used to invest in an improved website with enhanced e-commerce capabilities and the installation of UV filtration systems in the basement air treatments.

I recently applied for the Small Business Relief Grant, designed to provide assistance to businesses in Ohio that have been affected by the pandemic.

At the end of October, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine appropriated up to $ 125 million in the funding the state received under the federal CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security). To offer grants of $ 10,000 to for-profit companies with 25 or fewer employees. . A $ 2,500 grant is also available to bars and restaurants (active alcoholic drink licensors only).

Ms. Burns is also applying for P.P.P. Forgiveness of the loan. “My loan was well under $ 50,000, so I can use this recently released ‘simplified’ model,” she said. “It’s always a complicated and arduous process.”

For now, it is open to work with reduced hours and capacity. “But I’ll stay there,” said Mrs. Burns. However, I still had a revenue gap for 2020 compared to a year ago – down around 30% year over year.

“Coronavirus cases are on the rise in Ohio at the moment, so I don’t know how that will happen – we’ll see,” she added.

READ ALSO: 9 Ways to Support Small Businesses

Here’s a look at the resources available to small business owners such as Mrs. Burns. Keep in mind that the rules are constantly changing.

P.P.P. The program is closed. For small business operators who take out a loan, the loans are repaid; Essentially, they are converted into grants, if the funds are used for employee costs, interest on mortgages, rent and utilities (a portion of the amount transferred must have been used on the payroll).

Originally, the loans were to be used within eight weeks of receiving the funds. This allotted time has been extended to 24 weeks thanks to P.P.P. The Flexibility Act, which also extended the first installment delay date for the loan to 10 months after the end of the period, and simplified the loan exemption request.

S.B.A. He has other helpful offers. The Economic Disaster Loan Program offers up to six months of working capital, with a fixed interest rate of 3.75%. Repayment can be postponed for one year, but the interest will accrue. Loan repayment terms are up to 30 years.

The agency also provides small businesses with regard to S.B.A. Express Lender for a bridging loan of up to $ 25,000.

Apply online at the S.B.A. Or at 800-659-2955. The site also has a directory to find their local offices.

SCORE, a nonprofit organization of S.B.A, provides a Small Business Resilience Center that lists tools and financial resources, as well as access to mentoring and training workshops across the country. Their website offers federal resources, including assistance with filing tax returns for small businesses affected by the pandemic.

State and city governments also offer grants and provide help centres. The best place to start is the United States Chamber’s Small Business Preservation Initiative Handbook that describes loans, grants, and money provided by states and communities – as well as private organizations.

To learn more about the resources, check mayors and governors’ offices and websites of state economic development agencies, which offer updates on relief programs.

In Virginia, for example, the Shenandoah County Supervisory Board awards grants to small businesses of up to $ 15,000. They can help pay rent or mortgage, reopen expenses, utilities, payroll, and other similar costs in the normal course of business. The deadline for submitting applications is December 1.

The Rebuild VA Scholarship Fund is a program to assist small businesses and nonprofits whose operations have been disrupted by Covid-19. The Statewide Rebuild VA Program is open to any small business or nonprofit organization with a total income of $ 10 million or less, or 250 employees or less. The maximum bonus is $ 100,000.

Cities offer their own small business assistance programs. The New York City Small Business Services Department, for example, can help companies apply for loans and other financial products. There is free one-on-one small group consultations to help companies assess, apply for funding, and access private city-sponsored loans and grants.

The Neighborhood Challenge is an effort created by the NYC Economic Development Corporation and the NYC Department of Small Business Services in collaboration with The Urban Tech Hub @ Company and CIV: LAB to create crowdsourcing solutions to support shopping districts and small businesses in the city. Project registrations are accepted through December.

The New York City Small Business Resource Network, a public-private partnership funded by a $ 2.8 million grant from the New York-based Peter J. Peterson Foundation and supported by in-kind contributions from other partners, works with local entrepreneurs to “access a range of programs and services,” according to the site.

In San Francisco, businesses in certain neighborhoods can be compensated up to $ 5,000 for past, current, or future work through the SF Shines Reopening Scholarship.

GoFundMe, the fundraising platform, has launched the Small Business Relief Initiative, in partnership with Yelp, Intuit QuickBooks, and GoDaddy to provide homeowners with grants and resources. GoFundMe, QuickBooks, and Yelp have each donated $ 500,000 to the Small Business Relief Fund, which is open to all. There will also be $ 500 Match Grants for eligible companies who collect at least $ 500 on GoFundMe.

IFundWomen, a crowdfunding platform, makes small loans to women-led businesses that are issued on an ongoing basis. Register on the site and click “Start Campaign” to be considered for a relief grant.

The Verizon Business Comeback Coach program, set to begin live on Monday, offers free business services including one-on-one coaching and video conferencing via BlueJeans for one month and two months free from One Talk, which connects desk phones to mobile devices. Yahoo Small Business Maker offers a free website builder, as well as domains and business email addresses.

Despite these options, homeowners face significant challenges and many remain in business. The future of P.P.P. Loans.

“We’ve had it so far,” said Carl Sobucinski, 52, founder of Table 301 Restaurant Group, which operates six restaurants in Greenville, S.C.

Last spring, Mr. Sobucinski put 80% of his 400 employees on vacation. Management agreed to a 20% pay cut and menus have been curtailed. He was also able to work with lenders to defer some of the company’s mortgage payments by three months.

The company is now breaking even, at about 65% of last year’s $ 22 million revenue, and the employee roster is now 300.

“We applied early to get P.P.P. the money – a total of about $ 1 million, and that made a big difference in returning our workforce,” Sobucinski said. “Until we get another stop, I think we’ll get there.”


Editorial Staff

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