Prior to the Spring of 2020, if you would have told us America would come to a stand-still, and that Americans would be scrambling to keep their businesses alive, no one would have believed it. However, beginning in March of 2020, that is precisely what happened. As Americans and business owners we were not equipped to deal with such a blow to our economic operations, however many resources immediately became available to the public following the fall-out of the pandemic. The annual US gross domestic product (GDP) fell 4.8% in the first quarter of 2020, the largest decline since the Great Recession.

One of the major issues small business owners face is access to capital. On Friday, March 27, 2020, the President signed into law the CARES Act, which contains emergency relief resources for American workers and small businesses. On June 15, SBA (Small Business Administration) resumed accepting new Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) applications from all eligible small businesses, private non-profits, and U.S. agricultural businesses. The SBA has 68 District Offices, as well as the support provided by its Resource Partners, such as SCORE offices, Women’s Business Centers, Small Business Development Centers, and Veterans Business Outreach Centers, so you can align with them locally for help, not just nationally.

There are a few ways to obtain capital through the SBA, with the most popular being a 7(a)-program loan, which 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. However, these types of loans fell to the way-side during this pandemic. Other new programs ended up taking the lead. One of the quickest efforts pushed out by the SBA, was the implementation of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), established by section 1102 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act or the Act). But with quick-moving programs, come lots of undefined questions regarding regulations. For example, many business owners wondered what exactly was covered by the PPP loan. Was sick leave covered for our employees? The answer is not as simple as yes or no. PPP loans cover payroll costs, including costs for employee vacation, parental, family, medical, and sick leave. However, the CARES Act excludes qualified sick and family leave wages for which a credit is allowed under sections 7001 and 7003 of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Public Law 116–127). Apply now to find out if your small business qualifies today.

What is a small business defined as in our current climate, and where are they located? Businesses with fewer than 500 employees are generally thought of as small businesses—the CARES Act frequently cites this number when describing the Paycheck Protection Program. Being a small business comes with some advantages—namely, support from the SBA. The agency provides small businesses with increased access to capital through lending, training programs, and guidance to win the 23% of government contract dollars that are reserved for eligible small businesses. Some states received a higher number of CARES Act PPP loans per small business than others. For example, while North Dakota received 582 PPP loans per 1,000 small businesses, California only received 149 PPP loans per 1,000 small businesses.You can apply for your small business funding here.

According to a new survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), about 60 percent of business owners surveyed said they’ve lost revenue as a result of the coronavirus and related stay-at-home orders. For 13 percent of them, the revenue loss has been total. More than half have laid off some employees; 14 percent laid off all of them. About 4 in 10 small businesses have had to close their physical operations. So, while all businesses are not created equal, or asking for help equally, the SBA has outlined, created, and continued to redefine what small business lending will look like for the remainder of next year, and beyond. Furthermore, they continue to add clarity and capital to all programs, assisting all small businesses in this time of need.

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Henry Gross

Henry Gross

Henry Gross is the managing partner at Sutton Funding.

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