Small business resources to help with coronavirus impacts

Mar 17, 2020

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Updated 4/3

Small business owners have been top of mind for us at TPG over the last eight months. In addition to covering new offers on business credit cards, we started the TPG Small Biz community to help owners maximize their loyalty returns and network with fellow travel enthusiasts who understand the life of a small business owner.

However, the ongoing spread of COVID-19 continues to have massive effects on the economy, and small business owners are already some of the hardest hit in just under two weeks.

READ MORE: TPG’s hub page for the coronavirus outbreak

Local, state and federal governments have begun rolling out programs to help owners in this time of crisis. Financiers have also gotten onboard, with some card issuers going as far as waiving interest and fees.

What follows is a list of resources designed to provide information and relief for small businesses. We will continually update this guide as we find new programs and see adjustments to existing ones. You can also email me if you are aware of additional tools or programs, and I’ll happily add them to the list.

In This Post

General preparedness

Federal government

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) — The Treasury Department and IRS just announced a three-month delay for any tax payments owed up to $1 million. You’ll still need to file your returns by April 15, 2020 but will have until July 15 to pay. This will apply to individual tax returns but should also cover many pass-through entities and small businesses.

Small Business Administration (SBA) — The Coronavirus Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources page is being continually updated with all SBA tools and resources, including preparedness checklists and different avenues to access capital.

Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loans — Designated areas are eligible for working capital loans up to $2 million. Interest rates are 3.75% for small business and 2.75% for non-profits, with long-term repayments up to a maximum of 30 years. You can apply online or call the SBA disaster assistance customer service center at 1-800-659-2955.

State/Local Governments

(Photo by Hero Images / Getty Images)
Many states are offering specific assistance to small business owners impacted by the outbreak. (Photo by Hero Images / Getty Images)

Arkansas — The State Chamber of Commerce has created a list of resources and regularly-updated information for business owners in the state.

Atlanta — Invest Atlanta has established a Business Continuity Loan Fund (BCLF) with $1.5 million of funding from the City of Atlanta. The fund will offer small businesses zero-interest loans to address a lack of working capital and cash flows as a result of reduced consumer demand, the ability to fulfill product or service orders and other economic conditions.

California — Employers facing potential closures or layoffs can request America’s Job Center of California Rapid Response Services for help in evaluating your business and employee situation. Employers experiencing a hardship as a result of COVID-19 may request up to a 60-day extension of time from the state’s Employment Development Department (EDD) to file their state payroll reports and/or deposit state payroll taxes without penalty or interest.

Chicago — Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot announced a new $100 million economic relief package to support Chicago’s small businesses that are experiencing a temporary loss of revenue as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.The City is launching the new Chicago Small Business Resiliency Loan Fund in partnership with the Catalyst Fund, chaired by Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin, and other private sponsors. The new fund will provide more than $100 million in low-interest loans to severely impacted small businesses over the coming months, targeting historically under-resourced communities with an emphasis on minimizing hardship for those businesses and their employees.

Florida — The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program will make loans to individuals who, individually or collectively, own at least 51% of the equity of the business. A borrower will be required to sign an agreement that the proceeds of the loan will be used only for purposes of maintaining or restarting the business in the designated area.  Use of proceeds to pay off debts already incurred for qualifying business maintenance or restart purposes may be authorized on a case-by-case basis.

Maryland — The Maryland Department of Commerce has announced a $50 million Grant Fund for working capital to assist Maryland small businesses with each grant up to $10,000. There is also a $75 million Loan Fund for loans up to $50,000 per business not exceed three months of cash operating expenses open to businesses with fewer than 50 employees.

Massachusetts — The $10 million Small Business Recovery Loan Fund will provide emergency capital up to $75,000 for companies with under 50 full0time and part-time employees, including nonprofits with ni payments due for 6 months.

Michigan — The Michigan Economic Development Corporation has compiled resources to helped to create the The Michigan Small Business Relief Program will provide up to $20 million in support for small businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19. The funding is divided between $10 million in small business grants and $10 million in small business loans to support businesses facing drastic reductions in cash flow and the continued support of their workforce. Funds for the program are expected to be available no later than April 1, 2020.

New York City — The NYC Small Business Services is offering grants and zero-interest loans to businesses in specific categories of size and revenue impact. Businesses with fewer than 100 employees who have seen sales decrease by 25% or more will be eligible for zero-interest loans of up to $75,000 to help mitigate losses. The city is also offering small businesses with fewer than 5 employees a grant to cover 40% of payroll costs for two months to help retain employees.

Portland — Businesses in the Jade District or Old Town Chinatown can apply for a part of the $190,000 in funds available for grants.

Pennsylvania — The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development has put together a COVID-19 Business Resource guide that appears to be updated almost daily. There’s a list of contacts and resources that are available to assist affected businesses.

Philadelphia — The COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund offers grants or zero-interest loans to the city’s businesses impacted by the virus. Microenterprise  grants of $5,000, small business grants of up to $25,000 and small business loans with 0% interest of up to $100,000 are available.

San Francisco — The city’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development has a comprehensive list of resources and updated information for business owners in the bay area. The city is rapidly instituting programs to help business owners. Follow @sfoewd on Twitter to keep up to date with the latest information.

Sacramento — The city created the small business emergency economic relief loan programs to give up to $25,000 loans at 0% interest.

Salt Lake City — The city’s Emergency Loan Program is offering up to $20,000, 0% interest loans for a five year payback term. loans can only be used for working capital, marketing and inventory.

Seattle — The SeattleMet has an excellent list of resources for small business owners and employees in the metro area. Grants of up to $10,000 are available for businesses that make 80 percent (or less) of the area’s media income and have five or fewer employees. The business and occupation tax deadline has been extended, and there are deferred payment plans for utilities. There are plenty of other programs currently available in and around what is (at this point) the hardest-hit city in the U.S.

Commercial programs

Facebook — The social media company announced $100 million in grants for small businesses in a blog post on March 17. Details have yet to be announced for what businesses are eligible for the grants. There is a sign-up link in the blog post to stay updated when details are released.

James Beard Foundation — The foundation has created the Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund and is currently working on application criteria. Sign up for updates on the foundation’s website to get notified when applications are open.

Kabbage — Any business can sign up to sell gift certificates online through Kabbage Payments.

Kiva — The popular small business, crowdsourcing investment company is offering 0% loans up to $15,000 with no payments for for six months.

MainVest — A tech company that offers crowdsourced investing in return for profit sharing is offering a zero-interest, 120 day $2,000 loan if you have an existing brick&mortar business that has been negatively effected but the COVOID-19 outbreak.

Microsoft Teams freemium — Enjoy unlimited chat, built-in group and one-on-one audio or video calling, 10 GB of team file storage and 2 GB of personal file storage per user. You also get real-time collaboration with the Office apps for web, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.

PandaDoc — The document automation software for small and medium-sized businesses has launched a free e-signature plan to help businesses keep running while they switch to remote working. Free eSign offers:

– Unlimited document uploads – Upload and send for eSignature as many documents as you’d like.
– Unlimited eSignatures – Collect an unlimited number of legally binding eSignatures.
– Payment processing – Accept a credit card, PayPal, or ACH payment the moment your doc is signed.

Restaurant Workers Community Foundation — The society is raising money for the Restaurant Workers COVID19 Relief Fund. The fund will be allocated as grants for direct relief to restaurant workers, grants to non profit organizations serving restaurant workers and no interest loan for restaurants.

Square — The payment processor is refunding all software subscription fees for the month of March for existing sellers who currently use Square Appointments, Retail, Restaurants, Loyalty, Team Management, Payroll, Marketing, and Square Online Store. Square will manage the process for you—there’s no need to do anything. Additional product updates are also in the works. You can use the just released curbside pickup option through Square Online Store, and they plan to release a local delivery feature this week.  Curbside pickup and delivery fees are waived for the next three months.

Yelp — The online review website announced a $25 million in relief, primarily focused on supporting independent local restaurant and nightlife businesses, in the form of waived advertising fees, and free advertising, products and services, during this period. As part of this relief effort, restaurants and nightlife businesses that remain open will receive free access to Yelp page upgrades, including Business Highlights and Call To Action, as well as Connect, which will help them communicate timely information to their customers. Restaurants will also receive three months of free access to Yelp Reservations and Waitlist. For restaurant clients that offer delivery and/or takeout, Yelp will provide $100 in free search advertising.

Additionally, Yelp has partnered with GoFundMe to allow small businesses to take donations directly on their business’s Yelp page. Yelp and GoFundMe will also match the first $500 donated to any business.

Zoom Basic Plan — Host up to 100 participants in a meeting and hold unlimited one-on-one meetings with the video-conference provider’s complimentary plan. This does provide a 40-minute limit on group meetings, though you’re not limited to the number of meetings.

Card issuers

American Express Financial Hardship — Amex is evaluating accounts on a case-by-case basis under its Financial Hardship Relief program to provide support for cardholders impacted by COVID-19. If approved, your interest rate may be lowered to rates as low as 0%, and you may receive a waiver on late and other account fees. Just note that if you accept the relief, your accounts may be frozen, and you won’t be able to use them until paid off. Your Membership Rewards balance will also be frozen, and the issuer may notify the credit bureaus that your account limits were lowered.

American Express Working Capital — Amex business cardholders can enroll with no credit check and get ongoing access to funds used for vendor payments between $500 and $150,000 with repayment terms of 30, 60 or 90 days. These charge a fixed fee between 0.6% and 5.25%.

Chase — You can call the number on the back of your card and ask to speak with an account representative about the possibility of relief from fees and interest. Multiple readers have reported success in having interest and late fees waived due to hardship related to COVID-19. We also just received reports of Chase extending the time requirement to meet minimum spend to trigger any sign up bonuses.

Bottom Line

We expect the above list to grow rapidly as governments continue to enact programs to help business owners and additional commercial partners update their policies and programs. We at TPG wish all our small-business readers the best during today’s trying times (and those that are still to come). You can join TPG Small Biz on Facebook to discuss everything related to COVID-19 with almost 2,000 other small-business owners.

Featured photo by @criene via Twenty20

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