Welcome to ACC’s Clearinghouse, an information hub linking CDFIs supporting small businesses and economic development in rural Appalachia–along with their clients, the small businesses themselves–with the funding, training, and technical assistance they need to succeed. The Clearinghouse is a curated, user-friendly catalog of capacity-building events, webinars, online training materials, funding and technical assistance opportunities, and other current and relevant content. It will be updated regularly, so check back frequently! If you have any questions or suggestions of resources to add, please contact Donna Gambrell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note to users: Because of the seriousness and immediacy of the COVID-19 pandemic for Appalachian communities and economies, the Clearinghouse has launched with a focus on small business resilience and recovery to that crisis. We will be adding new topics and resources in the coming months.
The development of this Clearinghouse was supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development.
News, Updates, and Upcoming Events
On April 24, the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (H.R. 266) was signed into law by the President after being passed by the House and Senate earlier in the week. This is the fourth bill passed by Congress in response to COVID-19, following the passage of H.R. 6074, H.R. 6201, and H.R. 748. This latest coronavirus aid package includes $484 billion in funding. It primarily provides additional funding for programs that were created or capitalized in previous COVID-19 relief bills, including an additional $321 billion for the Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program. H.R. 266 also provides $50 billion in SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans, $75 billion in emergency relief funding for hospitals, and $25 billion to increase coronavirus testing capabilities nationwide.
The SBA has resumed accepting Paycheck Protection Program applications from participating lenders as of April 27. This program provides small businesses with funds to pay up to 8 weeks of payroll costs including benefits. Funds, which are provided in the form of loans that will be fully forgiven when certain conditions are met, can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. Applicants should apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Click here for a one-page overview of the program and here and here for full details. Find an eligible lender near you here.
On April 9, Main Street America released their latest report, The Impact of COVID-19 on Small Businesses: Findings from Main Street America’s Small Business Survey. The report highlights the results of their recent online survey assessing the impact of COVID-19 on the small businesses across their network, probing their ability to withstand what may be several months of suppressed revenue and exploring what kinds of support programs will have the most impact. 5,850 small business owners responded, with nearly 40 percent of the businesses represented in the survey operating in towns of fewer than 10,000 residents. Key findings include that business owners primarily need financial assistance and penalty-free extensions on expenses.
On March 27, Congress passed an economic stimulus bill–the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (H.R. 748)–intended to help mitigate the economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. It includes:
For summaries of what’s included, see the SBA Small Business Owners Guide to the CARES Act and the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act.
Small business owners in all U.S. states and territories are eligible to apply for low-interest SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans for working capital to address the economic impacts of COVID-19. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. Small business owners are also eligible to apply for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan advances of up to $10,000. These advances will provide economic relief to businesses that are experiencing temporary loss of revenue; funds will be made available within three days of a successful application. Loan advances will not have to be repaid.
The Federal Reserve has announced that it is establishing a Main Street Lending Program to support lending to small and medium-sized businesses that were in good financial standing before the onset of COVID-19. The program will operate through two facilities: the Main Street New Loan Facility and the Main Street Expanded Loan Facility. To implement the program, a Reserve Bank will set up a special purpose vehicle to purchase 95 percent participations in loans originated by eligible lenders. U.S. businesses are eligible for loans if they meet either of the following conditions: (1) the business has 10,000 employees or fewer; or (2) the business had 2019 revenues of $2.5 billion or less. The Federal Reserve is still creating the program infrastructure and will post more information here as it comes available.
With support from Verizon, LISC is offering grants to help small businesses fill urgent financial gaps until they can resume normal operations or until other more permanent financing becomes available.
Kiva lenders are offering expanded eligibility, larger loans, and a grace period for their U.S. small business loans.
The James Beard Foundation is launching a relief fund that will gather support from corporate, foundation, and individual donors to provide micro-grants to independent food and beverage businesses in need.
The Restaurant Workers Community Foundation is raising relief funds, 25 percent of which will go to zero-interest loans to get restaurants back up and running. They are still developing this program; in the meantime they are offering direct relief to individual restaurant workers and funds for nonprofit organizations serving restaurant workers in crisis.
Opportunity Fund, which specializes in lending to small businesses owned by women, immigrants, and people of color, is collaborating with investors and nonprofits to put together a coronavirus relief fund that will provide grants and low-interest rate loans.
MainVest, a crowdfunding platform, announced its new Main Street Initiative, a $2,000, zero-interest, 120 day loan for restaurants and other brick and mortars affected by the shutdown.
Go Fund Me has partnered with Yelp, Intuit QuickBooks, GoDaddy, and Bill.com to create the Small Business Relief Fund, which will issue $500 matching grants to qualifying businesses that raise at least $500 on GoFundMe.
The Council on Foundations has created a spreadsheet of community, regional, and global foundations that have funds for COVID-19 relief, available here. The Council includes grant-makers of all sizes, focus areas, and geographic representation.
Kabbage launched an online hub to help boost sales for U.S. small businesses impacted by the crisis, including a system through which any business can sign up to sell gift certificates online and anyone can purchase them.
SBA is providing debt relief to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. SBA will automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of current 7(a), 504, and microloans for a period of six months. SBA will also automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of new 7(a), 504, and microloans issued prior to September 27, 2020. In addition, for current SBA Serviced Disaster (Home and Business) Loans that were in “regular servicing” status on March 1, 2020, the SBA is providing automatic deferments through December 31, 2020.
USDA Rural Development is offering loan payment deferrals, allowing guaranteed lenders to make additional loans to small businesses and nonprofit organizations under the provisions of Section 1102 of the CARES Act. Additionally,intermediary borrowers participating in the following programs may approve loan payment deferrals for their borrowers without USDA approval: Intermediary Relending Program (IRP), Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG), Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDL and REDG), and Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP). For full details, click here.
The Employee Retention Credit is now available to all employers regardless of size, including tax-exempt organizations but not including small businesses who receive Small Business Interruption Loans under the Paycheck Protection Program. The refundable tax credit is 50 percent of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19 after March 12, 2020, and before January 1, 2021. Eligible employers can get immediate access to the credit by reducing employment tax deposits they are otherwise required to make. Visit this IRS webpage for full details.
Small and midsize employers can now take advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits, designed to fully reimburse them for the cost of providing COVID-19 related leave to their employees. Paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for COVID-19 related reasons are provided, and refundable paid sick leave credit and paid child care leave credit are available to eligible employers. Click here for more details.
Small Business Counseling & Training
SBA works with a number of local partners to counsel, mentor, and train small businesses. The SBA has 68 District Offices, as well as support provided by its Resource Partners, such as SCORE offices, Women’s Business Centers, Small Business Development Centers and Veterans Business Outreach Centers. When faced with a business need, such as disaster preparedness planning or adjusting to new market realities, use the SBA’s Local Assistance Directory to locate the office nearest you. SCORE and Small Business Development Centers are offering assistance filling out SBA loan applications. The Minority Business Development Agency’s Business Centers are also helping minority-owned business enterprises of all sizes weather the COVID-19 crisis. Find out if there is one near you here.
Other Capacity-Building Events
The Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA) is hosting weekly briefings about development finance and COVID-19 related news and resources. These one-hour phone calls will feature legislative updates, news from CDFA members, state and local financing strategies, and lessons learned from previous development finance responses to disasters. The briefings will be held every Friday at 1:00 PM (Eastern) through May 29. Topics will be announced as the briefings get closer; previous ones have included innovative small business relief programs, strategies for catalyzing investment in communities, and the latest movements in the capital markets.
The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is holding a series of free webinars on the economic development implications of COVID-19 and strategies to address them. Click here to find upcoming events and recordings of past webinars.
Federal Agency Coronavirus Response Websites and Guides
On March 19, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued guidance to federal grantor agencies regarding administrative flexibilities they can put in place in response to COVID-19. Click here for the memo.
CDC’s Guidance for Businesses and Employers is available here. SBA summarizes this guidance, along with common issues being faced by small businesses, on this webpage under ‘Guidance for Businesses and Employers’.
Other Guides & Resources
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has compiled a list of resources on business resilience and disaster recovery, including programs providing financial assistance to small businesses impacted by COVID-19 across the nation and by state (listed under Small Business Resources).
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Coronavirus Small Business Survival Guide includes resources on the stimulus legislation, management and operations, crowdfunding, staying connected with customers, examples of small businesses adapting to this challenging time, and much more.
The CDFA COVID-19 Resource Center is a collection of financing programs and resources to address disaster relief and recovery.
Main Street America has compiled resources for local main streets and their small businesses across the country.
Idaho’s Clearwater Economic Development Association developed a quick guide to business triage, providing a concise outline of suggested immediate action items in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) has created a regularly updated COVID-19 Resource Center, which includes a comprehensive collection of advocacy resources, virtual events and training, federal agency resources, resources from other national organizations, philanthropic resources, and more.