COVID-19 Small Business Assistance

For the small business owners of the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has become more than a health crisis. According to a survey of over 1,500 small business owners conducted by Goldman Sachs, 96% say they have already been impacted financially by COVID-19. The inability to run businesses during social distancing and major reductions in cash flow has forced many business owners to close their doors temporarily, affecting employees and their families. Luckily, the federal and state governments and private sector companies have acted quickly in creating plans to assist small businesses in the forms of loans, grants, and funding.

It’s comforting to know that amid this pandemic, the Federal Government is making strong efforts to soothe the economic disaster that is accompanying it. Federal and state governments have designed relief and loan programs in the last month to support small businesses that are suffering in our current climate. Check them out:

U.S. Small Business Association Loan Resources

The U.S. Small Business Association is providing guidance and loan resources to eligible businesses including a Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loans, the SBA Debt Relief Program, and SBA Express Bridge Loans. Small businesses can find out if they are eligible for a loan on The U.S. SBA’s website.

Main Street Business Lending Program

The Federal Reserve announced a new update to their supplementary leverage ratio rule because of COVID-19’s negative effects on the Treasury market. By providing more liquidity to financial institutions, The Main Street Business Lending Program’s goal is to assist small to mid-sized businesses in great need of cash during this difficult economic time. It will also complement The U.S. SBA’s strides in providing loans to small businesses.

States Offering Small Business Assistance

Many states have implemented relief and assistance programs as COVID-19 and social distancing continue to impact small businesses. For example, Virginia is offering a “30 Day Fund” providing forgivable loans to all VA-based small businesses. The funding is intended to supply “immediate financial assistance (within maximum three days) to meet payroll, preserve healthcare coverage for employees, and save jobs while they await recently approved federal funding.” The Michigan Small Business Relief Program is offering grants through 15 local and nonprofit EDO’s located in the state. New York City has created an Employee Retention Grant Program for businesses with less than five employees, covering 40% of payroll costs for two months. In Colorado, the Denver Small Business Emergency Relief Program is providing up to $7,500 to any business that is currently unable to operate due to the pandemic.

In addition to the various government programs providing funds and loans to small businesses, there are a handful of companies within the private sector that are giving out grants in an effort to keep small businesses afloat. Take a look at a few of these notable campaigns created by some of America’s favorite brands:

Facebook Small Business Grants Program

Facebook has stepped up to the plate by offering a whopping $100 million in cash grants and ad credits for small businesses that are suffering during this time. Up to 30,000 small businesses in over 30 countries where Facebook operates will be eligible for the grants, which will cover things like rent costs and operating expenses. As one of the world’s leading social networks, Facebook will also contribute by connecting small businesses with more customers virtually. To learn how to apply and find out about The Facebook Small Business Grants Program’s next steps, you can sign up for updates here.

The Yelp Foundation and GoFundMe

What happens when America’s favorite online business directory joins forces with a widely-used crowdfunding platform? The birth of an innovative resource for donating to your favorite small businesses. While many dining establishments are stepping up their curbside pickup and delivery games to remain in business, dwindling profits and reduction in tips are seriously hurting their cash flow. The Yelp Foundation and GoFundMe are raising money for small businesses by adding a “Donate” button to any business listed on Yelp. Plus, they plan to provide up to $1 million in total matching grants to support the generosity of donors.

Bacardi #RaiseYourSpiritsCampaign

It’s OK to admit that you miss your Friday evening happy hours at your favorite bar or restaurant. Because chances are, they really miss your business. Bacardi has pledged $3 million in aid and support to those who work in the bar and restaurant industry as a part of its #RaiseYourSpiritsCampaign during the COVID-19 pandemic. Anyone can get in on the charitable act by donating $10 to an organization that is providing funds to those in the bar and restaurant business with directions on Bacardi’s Instagram page.

Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund

Verizon has donated $2.5 million to create a small business recovery fund through the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a U.S. non-profit organization that supports community development initiatives. Eligible small businesses can apply for a grant through the recovery fund’s website. And since Verizon knows a thing or two about media, the company has also launched their #PayItForwardLive campaign — a weekly live stream showcasing performances from some of the hottest names in entertainment. Throughout the live stream events, viewers are encouraged to use the #PayItForwardLive hashtag to unlock an additional $2.5 million from Verizon, totaling the company’s contribution to $5 million.

In unprecedented times like these, it is unclear as to when the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on our world’s health and economy will come to a halt. The health crisis has taken a toll on everyone in some form or another, and it is important to rally together and make a contribution in any way possible. The persistence and innovation displayed by public and private organizations speak volumes of our resiliency, and of the goodness in our world. No donation or act of kindness is considered too small. Let us know how you have made an impact in your community as we face the many challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re excited to hear your input!