Breaking News! Just announced:
The SBA is launching a streamlined application portal to allow borrowers with Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans under $150,000 through participating lenders to apply for forgiveness directly through the SBA. “With the new simplified application portal, thousands of Southeastern businesses, and even sole proprietorships that borrowed PPP funds will have these funds forgiven said Janita R. Stewart, Acting Regional Administrator for the Southeastern Region. Most entrepreneurs waiting for forgiveness have loans under $150,000. It was time we made the process more efficient so businesses can get back to sustaining our communities."
This new change will help rush relief to the Southeast’s smallest of small businesses, which has been the Administrator’s priority since day one. The new forgiveness platform will begin accepting applications from borrowers on August 4, 2021. Lenders are required to opt-in to this program through directforgiveness.sba.gov. In addition to the technology platform, the SBA is standing up a PPP customer service team to answer questions and directly assist borrowers with their forgiveness applications. Borrowers that need assistance or have questions should call (877) 552-2692, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. EDT.
The Summer to Recover with SBA
By Janita R. Stewart
U.S. Small Business Administration’s Southeast Acting Regional Administrator, serving Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee
We all recognize a feeling of comfort and familiarity as the nation opens back up for business. Recovery from the pandemic is underway; but there are many small business owners that are still struggling. During these very hot Summer months, it is a great time to take advantage of recovery programs. If you are already in a good place and you are up and running, this is an ideal time to prepare for any disaster that may come our way. The global pandemic has taught us all that anything is possible, and it is wise to be prepared as best as you can.
The American Rescue Plan was made into law with the intent of helping all Americans. For a simplified breakdown of how the Plan may assist you, the White House has created a website that simply defines it for you (The White House American Rescue Plan). The focus of the SBA is to provide access to the portions of the Plan that directly assist America’s entrepreneurs.
Many changes have occurred in the various COVID relief programs over the past year and some programs have expired. Please read below to see what is currently available:
COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) – applications accepted through Dec. 31, 2021 (or until funds are exhausted, whichever occurs first). This SBA direct loan program provides funding to small businesses and non-profit organizations currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue related to COVID-19. Unlike the PPP, EIDLs cannot be forgiven and are to be fully repaid. Also, EIDLs are intended to be used for general working capital purposes in order to pay expenses that you would have ordinarily been able to pay had the pandemic not occurred. Borrowers get a long term of 30 years to repay the loan with a fixed low interest rate of 2.75% for non-profits and 3.75% for small businesses. Maximum threshold has been increased to $500,000 and SBA is working on increasing this to $2 million.
SBA leadership has dedicated additional management capacity and resources to COVID EIDL. As a result, the SBA is excited to announce process improvements yielding more streamlined applicant experiences. Public data on the positive impact of these improvements and the corresponding application trends will be made available on the SBA website. Many questions may be answered by viewing the EIDL Frequently Asked Questions.
Targeted EIDL Advance and Supplemental Targeted Advance
Applicants for the EIDL may be eligible to receive funding from SBA that does not need to be repaid. These "advances" are like grants, but without the typical requirements that come with a U.S. government grant. Last year, Congress appropriated $20 billion in funding for the EIDL Advance program and all of those funds were disbursed at up to $10,000 per business/non-profit organization to applicants for the EIDL program. You did not have to be approved for nor accept an EIDL loan offer in order to receive the Advance. Since that program expired, Congress funded the Targeted EIDL Advance program wherein SBA is ‘targeting’ potential eligible entities who did not receive the full $10,000. last year thus offering them the opportunity to apply for this round of funding. The targeted EIDL advance is for amounts up to $10,000, the business/non-profit must substantiate at least a 30% loss of revenue in 2020 in comparison to 2019, and it must be located in a low-income community. If qualified under Targeted EIDL Advance, an applicant may apply for and receive an additional $5,000 under the Supplemental Targeted EIDL Advance program, if eligible.
Shuttered Venue Operators Grant – still accepting applications
The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program was established by the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act, and amended by the American Rescue Plan Act. The program includes over $16 billion in grants to shuttered venues, to be administered by SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance. Eligible applicants include live music venues, entertainment venues, movie theatres, and others, subject to restrictions.
Eligible applicants may qualify for grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue, with the maximum amount available for a single grant award of $10 million. A $2 billion component is reserved for eligible applications with up to 50 full-time employees.
A Paycheck Protection Program borrower may apply for forgiveness once all loan proceeds for which the borrower is requesting forgiveness have been used for authorized purposes within the allowable timeframe. Borrowers can apply for forgiveness directly with their lender any time up to the maturity date of the loan. If borrowers do not apply for forgiveness within 10 months after the last day of the covered period, then PPP loan payments are no longer deferred, and borrowers will begin making loan payments to their PPP lender.
Outreach to businesses in underserved communities:
The Biden-Harris Administration and Congressional leaders support this $100 million investment as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and is committed to ensuring that the nation’s small businesses receive the support they need to access federal relief programs that can help them weather the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This technical assistance is critical, as small businesses have been hit hard over the course of the last year, impacting at least 400,000 businesses. Previous rounds of economic relief last year helped millions of small businesses stay afloat and keep employees on the payroll, yet too many minority-owned businesses and mom and pops found themselves at the end of the line, while larger, well-connected businesses accessed programs right away. To better reach these small businesses, including individuals with disabilities and/or in minority, immigrant, rural, and other underserved communities across the country, SBA is launching the Community Navigator Pilot Program that will strengthen outreach to underserved businesses by partnering with organizations with deep roots in their communities.
In SBA’s implementation of this initiative of building upon its extensive network of resource partners across the country, ensuring the Community Navigator Pilot Program reaches targeted communities, SBA issued a grant funding opportunity and accepted proposals open to SBA resource partners, states, tribes, units of local governments, and other nonprofit organizations. SBA is currently in the process of reviewing proposals submitted. Competitive grant awards will range from $1 million to $5 million for a two-year performance period and awards are projected to commence in September 2021.
Please look into these programs with the links above and if you have any questions or need assistance navigating these programs, please enter your zip code on the SBA Local Assistance Finder and contact your nearest SBA district office.