Way Out of a Financial Crisis: 8+ Small Business Relief Programs You Should Know About [An Evolving List]
This is a list of government relief packages available to small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Keep an eye, as we update this list with new programs each week.
As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, we know that you—the small business entrepreneur—are facing a lot of stress and uncertainty.
With governments ordering “non-essential” businesses to close their doors to the public, many entrepreneurs — especially service providers who engage with clients in person — are dealing with a major predicament.
How will you generate income if your clients can’t even leave their homes?
How will you stay on top of your business expenses and obligations?
These are some tough questions, and while we don’t have all the answers, we’re here to point you in the right direction.
In light of the coronavirus situation, a number of governments and organizations have stepped up to provide relief to business owners during this difficult period.
We’ve compiled some of these initiatives below.
Go through them below and see if your business can qualify for any of these relief programs.
The U.S. Small Business Administration is now offering financial assistance to eligible small businesses in select states who are affected by the coronavirus. Qualifying businesses can borrow up to $2 million dollars which can help entrepreneurs overcome temporary losses in revenue.
How to apply: The SBA has a 3-step application process.
Step 1 is to apply online, in person, or by mail. SBA will review your credit and eligibility, and a loan officer will work with you to process your application. SBA aims to arrive at a decision within 2-3 weeks. Once approved, SBA will send your Loan Closing Documents and will issue funds to you within 5 days after you sign the paperwork.
Facebook recently announced that it will be offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 small businesses in more than 30 countries where it operates. According to the social network, the program aims to help small businesses keep their workforce going strong, assist with rent and operating costs, and connect with more customers.
Register your interest: At the time of writing this, Facebook hasn’t released the full details of how the grant will work, but it said that it will release details in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you can sign up for updates on facebook.com/business/boost/grants
Several utility and telecommunications companies are waiving penalties and fees and deferring service suspensions and cancellations to those who cannot pay their bills.
The specifics of these initiatives will vary from one company to the next.
Pacific Gas and Electric Co., and Southern California Edison for example, have stopped service disconnections for non-paying residential and commercial clients. Meanwhile, both At&T and Verizon have suspended the termination of their services when customers can’t pay their bills because of COVID-19 disruptions. These companies are also waiving any associated late fees.
Be sure to check with your providers to find out the relief initiatives that they’re offering to businesses who are struggling financially because of the coronavirus.
Mainvest, an investment platform that connects brick and mortar businesses with investors, launched the Main Street Initiative, a program to support US small businesses as they grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.
Eligible businesses can immediately receive a $2,000 zero-interest loan when they start a capital raise.
How to get started: Visit Mainvest’s landing page for the Main Street Initiative and enter your email address.
Amazon has created a $5 million Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund to aid Seattle small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund is intended for businesses with fewer than 50 employees or earn less than $7 million a year. Businesses must also have a physical presence located within the vicinity of Amazon’s Regrade, South Lake Union, and Bellevue offices.
How to apply: Visit Amazon’s Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund page to apply for funding consideration.
The United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has taken steps to help taxpayers and businesses affected by the coronavirus. Specifically, the IRS has extended the tax filing deadline to July 15, 2020.
“We are moving Tax Day from April 15 to July 15. All taxpayers and businesses will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a tweet.
The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would have the Trump administration provide billions of dollars to aid those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A part of that bill offers tax credits for small and medium businesses so they can offer two weeks of paid sick leave and up to 3 months of family and medical leave to its employees affected by the crisis.
A portion of the bill, known as the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, gives SMBs payroll tax credit that is equivalent to 100% of the wages paid to their employees. This means that employers with fewer than 500 employees are required to provide paid sick leave to workers who need to stay home due to quarantine requirements or to care for family members. The government will then compensate businesses in the form of a tax credit.
Relief Programs From State and Local Governments
There are also various initiatives at the state- and city-level to help businesses that are going through this tough period.
In Florida, for example, the state has enacted the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, which offers short-term interest-free loans to small businesses suffering from the COVID-19 fallout. A similar initiative is taking place in Massachusetts, which announced a $10 million recovery loan fund for small businesses.
Meanwhile, states like California, Connecticut, and Maryland, have extended tax deadlines for businesses.
The finer details of all these initiatives vary from one program to the next, so call your state and local government officials or check their websites to get the most updated information.
Keep Going — There’s a Way Out
We know that you feel like you’re in a terrible situation with the coronavirus pandemic, but hang in there. Not only is there hope, but there are a number of resources and programs that you can tap into to get relief. Hopefully, this post points you in the right direction.
From all of us here at Genbook — we are thinking about you and we’re pulling for you.
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