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COVID-19 Funding Programs - What can small businesses can do today

SCORE Rhode Island held a web seminar this week to update small businesses on what they can do right away to take advantage of the COVID-19 federal funding programs – particularly the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). These two small business programs recently received $310 billion in additional funding, including funds set aside to distribute through smaller banks and credit unions.

The web seminar was hosted by SCORE RI chapter co-chair Rochelle Blease and featured updates from a panel of SCORE experts who have been counseling small businesses on these programs. They also shared their knowledge and offered insights in a detailed question and answer session. An on-demand replay of the web seminar can be found online by clicking here.  

There were several themes to the seminar, one being that small businesses should continue to have a sense of urgency in applying for new funding. Demand is high and small businesses need to get in line for available funds. Not only are funds in short supply in this round, but being in line increases chances in case additional rounds of funding become available in the future. If qualified firms have not applied for PPP, they should get an application from their bank and apply immediately.

There was a consensus that additional information and guidelines are being updated almost daily. Therefore it pays to get assistance from your bank, SCORE, or other professional. SCORE RI is also hosting a weekly update workshop at https://ri.score.org/content/take-workshop-161

Basic information on the two programs can be found in these two blogs on PPP (click here) and EIDL (click here). Some of the new insights from the seminar included:

  • If you have applied for PPP and were approved, then the loan should be funded from the recent round, and you should hear back this week. If you have not been approved, check with your bank to see if they have all the information needed. Incomplete information is the most common cause of delayed responses, according to the SBA.
     
  • For PPP, sole proprietorships who do not have a payroll (1099s don’t count towards payroll) should use 1040 Schedule C to determine income and profit. Sole proprietorships, start-ups, and seasonal businesses have unique challenges in providing the clear historical details needed to gain approval, so they should seek assistance in filling out the application from their bank or from SCORE. 
     
  • The EIDL portal will not likely open, at least in the short term, because the SBA already has more loan requests than it can handle with the new funding. However, applications already received will be considered in this round. Applicants may not hear for weeks or even months, but can check on status at 800-659-2955 or by emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.
     
  • PPP loans do not consider credit score. However, EIDL loans do consider credit score. One panelist reminded small businesses that if they don’t get a PPP or EIDL loan they should consider other forms of financing.

There was also a reminder that relationships matter – so work with an SBA approved lender with whom you have a relationship.

There was far more material in the seminar than can be covered here, so again for a full report, check out the recording of the web seminar recording online by clicking here.  If you would like help, SCORE volunteers are available to assist. Feel free to reach out to your local SCORE chapter at www.score.org or call 401-226-0077.

For more than 50 years, SCORE has helped more than 11 million aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners through mentoring and business workshops. More than 11,000 volunteer business mentors in more than 300 chapters serve their communities.

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About the Author(s)

Jeff Bodenstab is a Providence, Rhode Island-based SCORE mentor and recently retired marketing executive, board member and co-founder with a career of helping build young businesses into larger enterprises.

COVID-19 Funding Programs - What can small businesses can do today