While the first round of grant money from the federally funded Paycheck Protection Program ran out in just 13 days, small businesses still have options to seek relief from the hardships caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The federal relief program was intended to give small businesses forgivable loans in order to keep their workforce employed, even while many storefronts were forced to close to prevent the virus from spreading as rapidly. However, most small businesses didn’t see any of the $349 billion earmarked by the federal government.
Earlier this week, the Senate passed an additional relief package to provide $310 billion more funding to the program, which is expected to be signed into law later this week.
In the meantime, the Small Business Development Center of Springfield’s Executive Director Rob Alexander says small businesses should keep pushing to get their applications in as soon as possible.
“If you were locked out of the Paycheck Protection Program the first time around, my advice would be to right now start approaching a bank to get in line for that next round,” he says. “We learned the money will go quickly. It’s worth reaching out to banks now to find one that will take your application early to have it and hold your place in line to apply.”
A list of U.S. Small Business Administration approved lenders can be found on the organization’s website.
Another option currently available to small businesses is a Facebook Small Business Grants Program.
The Facebook grant program will provide a total of $100 million in cash grants and ad credits to small businesses nationwide who are in need of support because of COVID-19 business stresses. Business owners who have between 2 and 50 employees can visit this site to get more information and apply: https://www.facebook.com/business/boost/grants/.
Though grants like this one won’t be able to cover all of the expenses small businesses have at this time, Alexander says the application process is easy and quick, so he suggests businesses at least try for some of the funding.
“Overall, my biggest pieces of advice for small businesses are to trim your expenses down as low as you can possibly go. Negotiate with your creditors as much as you can, and exhaust all your financing possibilities,” Alexander says. “And after that, just hold on. Hold on with everything you have. Those businesses that are able to hang in there and do everything possible, those are the ones that are going to make it through this.”