Welcome to the ACC 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 catalog of capacity-building events, webinars, online training materials, funding and technical assistance opportunities, and other current and relevant content. It will be updated periodically, so check back! 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 currently focuses primarily on small business resilience and recovery to that crisis. We will be adding new topics and resources in the coming months.
The development of the ACC Clearinghouse was supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development.
News, Updates, and Upcoming Events
President Biden has signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, a $1.9 trillion stimulus package to support COVID-19 recovery and relief. The bill provides relief for small businesses and hard-hit industries through existing programs and new ones, including:
The National Conference of State Legislatures breaks down and summarizes the Act’s provisions here.
The Treasury Department has opened the application process for its Emergency Capital Investment Program (ECIP), a new initiative designed to support access to capital in communities traditionally excluded from the financial system and that have struggled the most during the COVID-19 crisis. The program will directly invest $9 billion in CDFIs and minority depository institutions (MDIs), supporting their efforts to provide loans, grants, and forbearance for small and minority-owned businesses and consumers in low-income and underserved communities. The program sets aside $2 billion for participants with less than $500 million in assets and an additional $2 billion for participants with less than $2 billion in assets. ECIP will complement the $3 billion of grants being provided by the CDFI Fund through the CDFI Rapid Response Program (application period closed) and the Emergency Support and Minority Lending Program (will open in early summer). The deadline for ECIP applications is May 7, 2021.
In the new round of Payment Protection Program (PPP) forgivable loans, open until March 31, 2021, small businesses can now apply for a second draw PPP loan if they’ve already received a “first draw” and will or have used the full amount for authorized uses. They must have been operating before February 15, 2020, and have no more than 300 employees. A new requirement to qualify for round two is that businesses must demonstrate that their gross receipts have declined by 25% or more between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020. If businesses have not received a PPP loan before, First Draw PPP Loans may be available to them. Some nonprofit organizations are now eligible for the program as well. Find a lender, identify the appropriate loan type, and read about recent program changes made to support equity on SBA’s website.
The IMF’s Financial Access COVID-19 Policy Tracker analyzed the most common government support measures used by 130 countries to help small businesses through the pandemic. Financial assistance such as grants was the most used policy measure (adopted by 77 percent of countries), followed by public guarantees on loans (50 percent), delays in loan repayments (30 percent), tax relief (28 percent), and lower interest rates (24 percent).
Three-quarters of small and mid-sized business owners plan to either encourage or require employees to become vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a recent survey from financial services company PNC, as they see the vaccines for staff as critical to buoying sales.
The State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) was reauthorized by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The program provides federal financing to states to deliver flexible, affordable capital to small businesses across the country. This new iteration of the program will provide $10 billion to support small businesses responding to and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. It will also ensure business enterprises owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals have access to credit and investments and provide technical assistance to help small businesses applying for various support programs. Each state must detail how minority-owned depository institutions and CDFIs will be encouraged to participate in its funding programs. Click here for the recording of CDFA’s national stakeholder call discussing key SSBCI questions and timelines and several states’ efforts to re-launch SSBCI programming.
SBA’s new Restaurant Revitalization Fund will provide grants to address the pandemic’s impact on the food services industry, including restaurants, bars, food trucks, brewpubs, and caterers. Grants will be up to $10 million per entity or $5 million per physical location, and will be calculated by subtracting 2020 revenue from 2019 revenue. Funds may be used for a variety of eligible expenses including payroll, rent, and personal protective equipment costs. Once the program launches, SBA will prioritize applications from restaurants owned and operated by women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals for the first 21 days.
SBA launched the Community Advantage (CA) Recovery Loan pilot program to allow eligible mission-focused CA Lenders to provide technical and financial assistance to small businesses located in underserved areas as defined by the agency. CDFIs, along with other types of organizations, are eligible to become CA lenders, which must maintain at least 60 percent of their SBA loan portfolio in underserved markets. The program expires March 31, 2021.
SBA is accepting new COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) applications from qualified small businesses, including agricultural businesses, and private nonprofit organizations. Loans are used to meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred, including working capital and normal operating expenses. Additionally, the COVID-19 Targeted EIDL Advance provides businesses in low-income communities with additional funds to ensure small business continuity, adaptation, and resiliency. Advance funds of up to $10,000 will be available to applicants in low-income communities who previously received an EIDL Advance for less than $10,000, or those who applied but received no funds due to lack of available program funding. Applicants do not need to take any action; SBA is reaching out to those who qualify.
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.
Candid compiled a searchable list of funds established in the wake of COVID-19 that are hosted at US-based foundations serving nonprofits.
SBA announced extended deferment periods for all disaster loans, including the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, until 2022.
The American Rescue Plan Act extended the employee retention credit established by the CARES Act through December 31, 2021, and expanded eligibility for the credit to new startups that were established after February 15, 2020, and companies if their revenue declined by 90% compared to the same calendar quarter of the previous year.
The Act also extended tax credits for employer-provided paid sick and family leave established under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act through September 30, 2021. The Act also increases the wages covered by the paid family leave credit to $12,000 per worker, from $10,000; covers as many as 60 days of paid family leave for self-employed individuals, instead of 50; and bars employers from receiving credits if their paid leave favors highly compensated employees, full-time workers, or employees based on tenure.
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, 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 remote mentoring and assistance with SBA loan applications and other issues. 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.
Check out the SCORE Small Business Resilience Hub here. SCORE’s Small Business Resilience Training website provides educational materials and online workshops to help small businesses adapt, reopen, and grow successfully through Covid-19 or any disaster. Resources include a recorded webinar on new small business relief options, one on PPP options for your small business, articles on qualifying for various federal aid programs, and much more. All upcoming SCORE webinars are listed here.
Other Capacity-Building Events
Small Business Majority’s COVID-19 Daily Updates for Small Business includes webinars, policy briefs, new funding opportunities, and other tips for small businesses weathering COVID-19, updated daily.
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
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 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.
The National Association of Development Organizations 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.
Brookings released a report outlining a proposal for a $50 billion federal Small Business Green Recovery Fund that supports recovery from the devastating effects of the pandemic and helps the U.S. transition to a low-carbon economy. The fund would offer financial support in the form of green grants, green loans, and green bonds. SBA would administer the grants to support green innovations and investments by small businesses that face limited and costly access to financial markets. Green loans and bonds would be channeled through intermediary financial institutions by building on the experiences of the Paycheck Protection and the Mainstreet Lending Programs.
News, Updates, and Upcoming Events
For a group of 16 Opportunity Zone communities in Central Appalachia, Opportunity Appalachia provides technical assistance to develop community strategies and structure investable transactions, creating prospectus and pitch decks targeting Opportunity Fund (QOF) Investors. Click here for more background on the initiative, the project portfolio, and other details. The agenda from the OZ Investor Convening held on February 23-24, 2021 is available here. ACC manages the program, along with national and state partners.
CDFA’s Intro Opportunity Zones Finance WebCourse, to be held on April 28-29, 2021, will bring together program designers, fund managers, communities, investors, and policy experts to review strategies on how to maximize Opportunity Zone designations and attract investments. Register here by April 2, 2021 to get early bird rates.
The Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at Brookings convened a virtual conference on Opportunity Zones: The Early Evidence. Ed Glaeser of Harvard gave opening remarks, followed by a presentation from Kenan Fikri of the Economic Innovation Group. There were then four sessions, organized by topic, each containing several paper presentations and discussant responses. View the agenda and slides and watch the video of the event.
IRS has provided an extension of relief for Qualified Opportunity Funds and investors affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Tools & Guides
EPA’s Office of Community Revitalization (OCR) works with other federal agencies to align resources to support community-driven solutions that improve economic, environmental, community, and health outcomes. To help communities leverage their Opportunity Zone designations, OCR developed tools to assist economically distressed communities and increase their capacity to align, direct, and leverage private-sector capital. The tools are designed to help communities advance their plans and visions for redevelopment and revitalization while prioritizing specific needs and preserving community character. They include a community prospectus tool aimed at creating an investment strategy focused on creating equitable, sustainable, and thriving places; a primer on leveraging development finance tools; and strategies for engaging investors. Click here to learn more and access the tools.
Success Story Spotlight
Woodlands Community Lenders is a project leader in the Opportunity Appalachia initiative, working to redevelop the Tygart Hotel in downtown Elkins, West Virginia. The former grand hotel is an anchor of Elkins’ downtown, and restoring the vacant property as a boutique hotel and restaurant will revive a key asset in the heart of the community, bolster the region’s tourism industry, and attract customers to other nearby businesses. Woodlands has secured some financing for this project and is seeking additional support through New Markets Tax Credits (NMTCs) among other resources. The organization’s leadership pitched this project at the recent Opportunity Zone investor convening, sharing a professionally-shot video highlighting the progress and potential of the redevelopment. Following the pitch session, investors were able to schedule private meetings with project teams. Final redevelopment plans for the hotel are in process, with financing scheduled to close in the second quarter of 2021 and redevelopment to start in the third quarter of 2021.