What Government Resources Are Available?

Last updated: 4/2/2020

Note: This post will be continually updated as additional resources become available. Please note that guidance is continually changing.

As the harsh realities of the economic impact of COVID-19 continue to unfold, the amount of available government resources that are becoming available seem to increase by the hour. This can certainly become overwhelming when researching how to help your small business. As of this writing Congress and the Senate have both passed a $2 Trillion stimulus package known as the CARES act to help small businesses recover. While some of the money is earmarked for the airline, hotel, and restaurant industries and likely not relevant to our ZenBusiness customers, others 

There are five primary types of assistance available from the government for getting support during the COVID-19 crisis:

  1. Applying for Unemployment Under the CARES Act (SBA)
  2. Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (SBA)
  3. Paycheck Protection Program (CARES Act)
  4. SBA Express Bridge Loans (SBA)
  5. The Main Street Business Lending Program (Federal Reserve)

Applying for Unemployment as a Small Business Owner Under the CARES Act

Currently, Small Business owners are not able to apply for unemployment.  That is expected to change change once the CARES Act l is expected to pass in the federal government.  For now, let’s dig into how current unemployment works. Traditionally unemployment benefits are handled at the state level and are available for employees of companies who pay into the state’s fund for unemployed workers through payroll taxes. Typically, independent contractors, the self-employed, and gig economy workers are not running payroll and therefore do not qualify.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL)

Small Business owners in all 50 states and U.S. territories are now eligible and can apply for an emergency $10,000 advance that does not have to be repaid by going here. This emergency advance can be administered in as little as 3 days. 

Once you apply for the Emergency Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL) an SBA representative will contact you within 45 days to assess and determine your eligibility for an additional loan under the program.

Loan details:

  • Business can receive up to $2 million at up to 3.75% interest rate
  • 30 year term
  • Payment can be deferred for up to a year
  • All Business with fewer than 500 employees can apply including non-profits, veterans organizations Tribal businesses, sole proprietorships, self-employed individuals, and independent contractors.
  • Must have been in business before January 31, 2020 to apply
  • When can I apply?

    • Applications are currently open

    Where do I apply?

    The Employee Injury Disaster Loan is administered directly through the SBA and you can apply by going here.

    Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

    The Paycheck Protection Program is authorized under the CARES Act to provide $349 billion in forgivable loans to help small businesses retain their employees during the COVID-19 crisis.

    Loan details:

    • Businesses can receive up to $10 million at a .5% interest rate
    • 2 year term
    • Payment can be deferred 6-12 months
    • All businesses with fewer than 500 employees can apply including non-profits, veterans organizations Tribal businesses, sole proprietorships, self-employed individuals, and independent contractors.
    • A Treasury department fact sheet on PPP can be found here.

    When can I apply?

    • Small Business applications begin Friday, April 3, 2020
    • Independent contractors and sole proprietorship application begin Friday, April 10, 2020

    Where do I apply?

    • Applications can be made through any SBA lender or federally insured deposit institution, federally insured credit union, and any Farm Credit System institution that is participating.
    • You should talk to your lender to determine if they are participating.
    • SBA Express Bridge Loans

      The Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program is aimed at helping small business owners who have a relationship with SBA Lenders so they can borrow up to $25,000 with much less formality.

      To apply:

      • Applicants must have existing banking relationship with SBA express lender.
      • Businesses must have been operational when the declared disaster started.
      • Must meet eligibility requirements for the SBA’s 7(a) program.

      This type of loan can be used in the short term to help “bridge the gap” while they are applying for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. If your need is urgent you may be eligible you may be eligible to qualify for an SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan.

      The Main Street Business Lending Program

      The Federal Reserve announced a new initiative on Monday, March 23, 2020 in order to complement the SBA programs and increase support for loans for small businesses. The specific details of this program are still unreleased and will be made available here as soon as more information comes to light.

      Traditional SBA Loans (not related to COVID-19)

      You can also learn more and apply for traditional SBA loans using the information below.

      There are a number of other loan resources from the SBA that you can take advantage of to help your business. You can find more information or connect with a lender by visiting https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans

      Lender Match is a free tool that helps connect lenders and participating SBA-approved small businesses in as little as 48 hours.

      Here are some of the different programs from the SBA.gov website:

      • 7(a) program offers loan amounts up to $5,000,000 and is an all-inclusive loan program deployed by lending partners for eligible small businesses within the U.S. States and its territories. The uses of proceeds include: working capital; expansion/renovation; new construction; purchase of land or buildings; purchase of equipment, fixtures; lease-hold improvements; refinancing debt for compelling reasons; seasonal line of credit; inventory; or starting a company.
      • Express loan program provides loans up to $350,000 for no more than 7 years with an option to revolve. There is a turnaround time of 36 hours for approval or denial of a completed application. The uses of proceeds are the same as the standard 7(a) loan.
      • Community Advantage loan pilot program allows mission-based lenders to assist small businesses in underserved markets with a maximum loan size of $250,000. The uses of proceeds are the same as the standard 7(a) loan.
      • 504 loan program is designed to foster economic development and job creation and/or retention. The eligible use of proceeds is limited to the acquisition or eligible refinance of fixed assets.
      • Microloan program involves making loans through nonprofit lending organizations to underserved markets. Authorized use of loan proceeds includes working capital, supplies, machinery & equipment, and fixtures (does not include real estate). The maximum loan amount is $50,000 with the average loan size of $14,000.

      How to get help locally

      You can use SBA’s Local Assistance Directory to learn more about how to get access to their network of counselors, and mentors that may be able to help with your small business near you. There are over 68 District Offices across the country, as well as support from Resource Partners such as SCORE, Veterans Business Outreach, Women’s Business Centers, and Small Business Development Centers.

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