Help for Small Businesses

As a small business owner, I know this time is particularly challenging for our small businesses trying to pay employees and stay afloat. Included in the CARES Act and Families First Coronavirus Response Act are several programs available for business owners and self-employed individuals. A small business owner may apply for more than one loan as long as they cover different items.

Loans are available through existing SBA-certified lenders, including banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions. The SBA is required to streamline the process to bring additional lenders into the program. If the employer maintains its payroll, then the portion of the loan used for covered payroll costs, interest on mortgage obligations, rent, and utilities can be forgiven.

*If you’re a business owner that was unable to apply because of funding delays, please let me know here: bit.ly/sbizstory

Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program

The SBA is accepting loans from agricultural businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic, on a limited basis. All applications are processed first-come, first served. The EIDL provides small businesses with access to capital through an advance of up to $10,000 on the loan to provide covered leave, maintain payroll and pay debt obligations. The full loan can provide up to $2 million in economic assistance to help small businesses overcome the temporary loss of revenue resulting from COVID-19. Visit https://www.sba.gov/page/disaster-loan-applications for more information and to apply.  

Paycheck Protection Loan

 As of May 23, 2020, more than $30 billion had been approved for more than 336,000 loans to Florida small businesses. Overall average loan is $116,000 with 64% of loans being less than $50,000.  This program provides 100% federally guaranteed loans for 8 weeks of assistance to small businesses, 501(c)(3) nonprofits, sole-proprietors, independent contractors, and other self-employed individuals also eligible for these loans. You can apply for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) at any lending institution that is approved to participate in the program through the existing U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 7(a) lending program and additional lenders approved by the Department of Treasury. This could be the bank you already use, or a nearby bank.

    • FAQ on this new program.
    • Click here to search for a local approved lender.
    • Click here for list of vendors by state.
    • Click here for the loan forgiveness application
Entrepreneurial Development Programs

This SBA program provides grants and funding to offer training, counseling, and assistance to small businesses affected by COVID-19. The grants will flow through the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) and can be used by STEP participants to be reimbursed for events canceled due to COVID-19, as long as the reimbursement does not exceed federal grant amount.

An FAQ on SBA programs has also been provided by the Small Business Committee.  For additional details, guidance and resources from the SBA on how to help your small business during this pandemic, please visit this link.

Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program

Applications for these short-term loans were temporarily suspended by Governor DeSantis on April 14, 2020 after state funding ran out. The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program  was activated by Governor Ron DeSantis for Florida small businesses and non-profits impacted by COVID-19. These provided short-term, interest-free loans of up to $50,000 to affected small businesses with 2 to 100 employees. These loans are designed to bridge the gap between immediate assistance and long-term assistance from the SBA or commercial lenders. 

Additional assistance includes:

  • Protections for Small Business Contractors: 
Federal agencies are required to extend contract performance periods and promptly pay small business contractors impacted by COVID-19.
  • Debt Relief

For six months, SBA is required to pay all principal, interest and fees on all existing SBA loan products including 7(a), Community Advantage, 504, and Microloan programs. 

  • Access to Capital

More information will be coming from SBA and Department of Treasury on accessing the capital provided under the CARES Act. Contacting your local lender will be fastest way to receive further information.

  • Payroll Tax Delays

Employers that continue to pay employees that are furloughed may be eligible for a 50% credit on up to $10,000 of wages paid to those employees. Additionally, employers will be able to delay 2020 payroll tax payments until 2021 and 2022.

  • CDC Guidance for Small Business:

The CDC has also put together guidance for small business owners to help slow the spread of COVID-19, assist in keeping their workplace disinfected and clean as well as best practices on social distancing.

  • Personalized Assistance

If you or your business needs personalized assistance, guidance or help, I encourage you to reach out to your local SBA office or Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC.) These offices can provide you and your small business with free counseling and advice, explanations of your loan options, and disaster preparedness plans.

    • Click Here for small business preparedness and recovery resources from SBDC FL
    • Click Here to find your local SBA office.

FAQ

What can I use the loan amount for?

- Payroll costs
- Group health care benefits
- Employee salaries
- Interest on any mortgage obligation
- Rent
- Utilities
- And any other debt obligations that occurred before Feb. 15, 2020.

Where can I get this loan?
- Any existing SBA lenders and any lenders that are brought into the program through the
Treasury.
- You should talk to your preferred financial lender to see if you qualify.

How long will it take to receive the money?
- The SBA has authorized lenders to process, close, and service loans without SBA approval,
giving you the means to invest in your business immediately.

What if I can’t pay it back?
- First, all payment on principle, interest, and fees will be automatically deferred for six months.
- Second, for businesses that retain their staff up until June 30, 2020, this loan will be forgiven.

Will a borrower’s PPP loan forgiveness amount (pursuant to section 1106 of the CARES Act and SBA’s implementing rules and guidance) be reduced if the borrower laid off an employee, offered to rehire the same employee, but the employee declined the offer?

Answer: No. As an exercise of the Administrator’s and the Secretary’s authority under Section 1106(d)(6) of the CARES Act to prescribe regulations granting de minimis exemptions from the Act’s limits on loan forgiveness, SBA and Treasury intend to issue an interim final rule excluding laid-off employees whom the borrower offered to rehire (for the same salary/wages and same number of hours) from the CARES Act’s loan forgiveness reduction calculation. The interim final rule will specify that, to qualify for this exception, the borrower must have made a good faith, written offer of rehire, and the employee’s rejection of that offer must be documented by the borrower. Employees and employers should be aware that employees who reject offers of re-employment may forfeit eligibility for continued unemployment compensation.

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