A List of Business Relief Resources Amid Coronavirus


By Justin Biel, trends editor at Grow Wire 

Businesses are facing extreme economic challenges and uncertainty due to the coronavirus. In response, financial relief and loan programs at the federal and state level aim to meet the needs of small businesses, which total over 30 million and account for 99.9% of all businesses in the U.S., per Fundera.

Beyond federal and state governments, several nonprofits and private organizations are getting involved as well, developing additional relief programs and donating funds.

The list below features major sources of financial relief for businesses struggling amidst the coronavirus. It will be updated regularly.

The list below was last updated on March 26, 2020. If you’d like to recommend additional financial resources for growing businesses facing challenges due to the coronavirus, submit it here.

Federal government relief that you can get right now

The Paycheck Protection Program

On March 27, the president signed a federal stimulus package, also known as The CARES Act, which includes $350 billion in loans and grants to growing businesses that don’t plan to lay off workers.

A relief measure under The CARES Act, the Paycheck Protection Program, allocates 100% federally-backed loans to qualifying businesses to cover operational costs. The program is available to businesses with under 500 employees (including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed individuals), with a maximum loan amount equaling a company’s average monthly payroll costs during the one-year period before the date of the loan. Other program features include loan forgiveness, no collateral or personal guarantees, waived loan fees and deferred payments.

Business owners can apply for one of these loans through local lending institutions. See the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s how-to guide for more information. (We’ll be providing tips in future articles, too!)

The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans

The Small Business Association (SBA), a federal agency dedicated to assisting business owners and entrepreneurs, is providing low-interest loans of up to $2 million to U.S. businesses impacted by the coronavirus. The SBA recently made it possible for businesses in all states to qualify for these loans due to the coronavirus, which wasn’t the case in previous weeks. Plus, the program got a $10 billion funding boost from The CARES Act.

Businesses can apply for an SBA disaster loan online, though we’ve found the system has been slow as lots of businesses try to access it.

Extended paid sick and family leave
On March 18, the Senate passed a bill that extends paid sick and family leave for employees, which includes restaurant workers.

The new policy includes:

  • Two weeks of full-pay sick and family leave to workers who are in quarantine or helping family members with the disease or whose children’s schools have closed because of the virus
  • A total of 12 weeks of paid leave to many of those with children in schools that have closed. Workers will get about 67% of their normal salary for this period.
  • Bolstering of unemployment insurance
  • A boost to the SNAP food assistance program and federal funding for Medicaid. 

Tax deadline extension 

On March 21, the federal government extended the due date for filing and paying federal taxes until July 15, 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak for all individual returns, trusts and corporations.

State business tax due dates depend on the business structure, and this year, state filing dates vary due to the effects of the virus. Grow Wire is  tracking the changes daily.

Federal government relief that’s in the works

The Main Street Emergency Grant Program 

This proposal for a grant program, backed by three U.S. Senators, would allow growing businesses, including self-employed individuals and nonprofits, to rapidly apply for grants through the Treasury Department to cover fixed costs, including payroll, as the coronavirus continues to impact industries.

The Main Street Business Lending Program 

The Federal Reserve is creating a Main Street Business Lending Program to support lending to small and medium-sized businesses getting loans from the SBA. Although details have not been finalized, the Main Street Business Lending Program would be an added layer of financial support for small businesses in need of loans. Details are expected to come after Congress’ stimulus package is enacted, the New York Times reports.

State and city government relief that you can get right now

In addition to the federal government’s sources of aid, there are many state and local initiatives ready to help businesses. Forbes has a comprehensive list of state- and city-specific relief programs that we recommend.

Beyond that, you can visit the websites for and/or contact your state’s Chamber of Commerce and Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to inquire about relief programs for businesses in your area.

A sampling of aid available from state and city governments:

Denver: Business owners can apply for grants up to $7,500 from an emergency relief fund managed by Denver Economic Development and Opportunity.

Los Angeles: The Small Business Emergency Microloan Program is offering $5,000 – $20,000 loans with interest rates from 0-3% for companies with fewer than 100 employees “that have been negatively impacted” by the outbreak.

Iowa: The state’s Small Business Relief Program will provide grants up to $25,000 to businesses with 25 employees or fewer.

Wisconsin: The state’s Economic Development Corporation launched a grant program, Small Business 20/20, which offers grants of up to $20,000 to businesses that currently lend from the state’s community development financial institutions.

Relief from nonprofits that you can get right now

Nonprofits are aiding businesses facing the coronavirus, offering support in the form of loans, lines of credit and grants.. A few of the most notable programs include:

Kiva 

The global microlending site is supporting U.S. businesses with a program that offers expanded eligibility, making it easier for businesses to get a loan. For these, it’s raising its loan maximum from $10,000 to $15,000 and giving businesses a longer grace period for repayment.

Accion

The organization focused on small business loans has developed a COVID-19 Relief Program to provide loans to 500 small business owners who do not meet requirements for public relief programs.It’s also expediting the process for businesses in Illinois and Indiana to open a line of credit for up to $25,000.

United Way 

United Way often partners with local city and state organizations, like the Downtown Denver Partnership, to provide grants and microloans to growing businesses. See what United Way is doing in your community.

Relief from private companies 

Even big companies facing their own set of problems are putting programs in place to help smaller businesses get through the coronavirus challenge. Inc has put together a list of private companies helping in the relief effort, which includes:

Facebook

Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 growing businesses to help with rent, payroll and operational costs. The program will launch in the coming weeks.

Yelp

Yelp is offering $25 million in relief mostly aimed at restaurants, bars and nightlife businesses. It also partnered with other companies to start a Small Business Relief Fund that will provide matching grants to small businesses who launch fundraising campaigns of their own.

🙋‍♀️As businesses face speed bumps due to the coronavirus, we’re here to help with the nitty-gritty — from finding financial relief to building a business continuity plan. Got a topic you’d like us to cover in an upcoming article? Let us know.



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