Help for Small Business Owners
Are you struggling to make ends meet because of COVID-19?
Help is available!
In response to the economic crisis caused by COVID-19, the Washington State Department of Commerce mobilized community business alliances and chambers of commerce to create the Small Business Resiliency Network. SIMBA is a member of The Network, which provides culturally and linguistically appropriate outreach, technical assistance, and support to small business owners.
SIMBA will help you get the help you need to continue operations despite the uncertainties of COVID-19.
There are a variety of resources available to small business owners in the form of grants, loans, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
For technical assistance, call or text Anna Marie Martin at 509-710-6052
or email <firstname.lastname@example.org> for more information.
Here are the current opportunities. Please check back often as this information is updated frequently. Translated materials are available.
SBA PPP Direct Forgiveness Portal
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) launched a streamlined application portal to allow borrowers with Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans $150,000 or less through participating lenders to apply for forgiveness directly through the SBA.
The new forgiveness platform will begin accepting applications from borrowers on August 4th, 2021. Lenders are required to opt-in to this program through https://directforgiveness.sba.gov. In addition to the technology platform, the SBA is standing up a PPP customer service team to answer questions and directly assist borrowers with their forgiveness applications.
Register and Apply for PPP Forgiveness:
This portal is made available by the US Small Business Administration to streamline forgiveness processing for PPP Borrowers. After registration, you may use this streamlined process to automatically submit your forgiveness request to your lender.
The SBA also offers live customer service to borrowers who need assistance or have questions at (877) 552-2692, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. EST.
For more information, check out the Portal User Guide.
This forgiveness application has been taking an average of 6 minutes to complete, and applicants can expect an average of 5 business days to receive a decision.
SBA EIDL Loan Update
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman announced major enhancements to the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, a federal disaster relief loan designed to better serve and support our small business communities still reeling from the pandemic, especially hard-hit sectors such as restaurants, gyms, and hotels.
Key changes being announced by the SBA include:
- Increasing the COVID EIDL Cap. The SBA will lift the COVID EIDL cap from $500,000 to $2 million. Loan funds can be used for any normal operating expenses and working capital, including payroll, purchasing equipment, and paying debt.
- Implementation of a Deferred Payment Period. The SBA will ensure small business owners will not have to begin COVID EIDL repayment until two years after loan origination so that they can get through the pandemic without having to worry about making ends meet.
- Establishment of a 30-Day Exclusivity Window. To ensure Main Street businesses have additional time to access these funds, the SBA will implement a 30-day exclusivity window of approving and disbursing funds for loans of $500,000 or less. Approval and disbursement of loans over $500,000 will begin after the 30-day period.
- Expansion of Eligible Use of Funds. COVID EIDL funds will now be eligible to prepay commercial debt and make payments on federal business debt.
- Simplification of affiliation requirements. To ease the COVID EIDL application process for small businesses, the SBA has established more simplified affiliation requirements to model those of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.
The enhancements to the COVID EIDL program will allow more businesses greater and more flexible support from the over $150 billion in available COVID EIDL funds. Additionally, these changes will help entrepreneurs access capital at a time when, according to a recent Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses survey, 44 percent of small business owners report having less than three months of cash reserves, and only 31 percent report confidence in gaining access to funding.
How to apply
Eligible small businesses, nonprofits, and agricultural businesses in all U.S. states and territories can apply. Visit www.sba.gov/eidl to learn more about eligibility and application requirements. The last day that applications may be received is December 31, 2021. All applicants should file their applications as soon as possible.
For additional information on COVID EIDL and other recovery programs please visit www.sba.gov/relief. Small business owners may call SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard of hearing) or email DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov for additional assistance. The center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST. Multilingual representatives are available. Small business owners may also contact SBA’s Resource Partners by visiting www.sba.gov/local-assistance.
All business owners that have received previous loans through the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), or Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) can still benefit from COVID EIDL. To learn more about the application process, visit www.sba.gov/eidl.
The Small Business Flex Fund
Small business owners and nonprofits across Washington can apply for low-interest loans of up to $150,000 through The Small Business Flex Fund. The Fund is a public-private partnership aimed at helping small businesses and nonprofits – particularly those in low-income communities – recover and grow as communities across the state reopen for business.
The Flex Fund is different from other COVID-19 recovery programs because of its network of nonprofit, community-based lenders that have decades of experience helping Washington’s small businesses and nonprofits thrive. Through every step of the loan process, these community lenders are there to assist with the application and can make connections to business support services in local communities.
The Fund works with and through local Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), which serve under-resourced communities and underbanked businesses the Small Business Flex Fund aims to help.
All small businesses with fewer than 50 employees and $3 million in annual revenue can apply and culturally-appropriate in-language assistance is available.
Interested applicants pre-apply on the Flex Fund’s online portal and, if they qualify, will be matched with a lender. Once matched, the participating lender will assist the business owner throughout the application process and provide additional advisory support. If a business doesn’t qualify, they will be connected to a trusted community organization that can assist with finding other resources.
Qualifying businesses and nonprofits can apply for loans up to $150,000. Loans are available in 60- or 72-month loan terms at interest rates between 3-4.5%.
The Flex Fund website for this program is available in seven different languages, and technical assistance providers are available to support business owners through the application process.
No-Cost Accountant Services for WA State Small Business Owners
The Seattle Metro Chamber’s REACH program and the Business Health Trust are sponsoring accounting consulting services for small businesses to help employers navigate PPP forgiveness, Employee Retention Tax Credits, and financial record-keeping for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.
The CPA assistance is available to Washington businesses with 100 employees or fewer.
Employers can reach out to Leigh (email@example.com) to get connected with an accountant at Clark Nuber.
How to prepare for the next round of grant funding:
Prepare a document in your word processor with the following information as applicable.
- Info about you: Name, Cell Number, Email.
- Your Photo ID as an image or PDF.
- Info about your business: Name, Email, Address, Website, Business Phone Number.
- Your business UBI number, EIN number, SSN/ITIN number, and/or DUNS number.
- Here is a worksheet that can help you organize your information: Economic Disaster Injury Worksheet.
- If you have not yet filed your 2020 taxes, have your 2019 Tax Statement ready. Here is a link to the IRS Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center page.
- Here is a link to the Washington State Department of Revenue.
- Several previous grant applications asked for quarterly comparisons to highlight year-over-year loss.
- If your business has considerable sales differences according to the season, it will make sense for you to have profit and loss statements prepared for each quarter in 2019 and 2020.
- You might want to generate “boilerplate language” about your business, the economic losses you experienced in 2020, and how the economic downturn affected your business. If you need help preparing this information, please reach out to Anna Martin at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Washington State Coronavirus Response
For up-to-date information about the impact of the coronavirus, go to the Washington State Coronavirus Response webpage. Available in multiple languages.
Washington Listens Support Line
The program includes a phone line to speak with support specialists and connect to community resources. People who call the Washington Listens support line will speak with a support specialist and get connected to community resources in their area. The program is anonymous.
The Washington Listens support line is 1-833-681-0211. It is available from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. TTY and language access services are available by using 7-1-1 or their preferred method. Resources and self-help tips are available on walistens.org.
Washington 211 COVID-19 Call Center
Washington 211 COVID-19 call center is a general information line related to COVID-19. If you need information or have a general question, call 1-800-525-0127 or text 211-211 for help. You can also text the word “Coronavirus” to 211-211 to receive information and updates on your phone wherever you are. You will receive links to the latest information on COVID-19, including county-level updates, and resources for families, businesses, students, and more.
Current Opportunities from The Washington State Department of Commerce
There are many resources available to small business owners in Washington State. Here is a current list of available grants and loans. Check back frequently.
The Washington State Department of Commerce maintains a list of resources available to small business owners. This site updates frequently, so check back often.
Resources available in Spokane County:
- Greater Spokane Incorporated (GSI)
- The Rural Opportunities Loan Fund – Helps to finance business expansion, retention and start-up projects for borrowers who do not qualify for traditional loans. Funding comes from federal, state and local sources in the form of grants, contracts for service and local membership investments.
- Business Resilience Loan Program – The City of Spokane is providing eligible Spokane businesses with access to affordable loans through a partnership with non-bank community lender Craft3. Due to credit requirements, not every business will receive a loan. Loans can be between $10,000 and $50,000.
- Inland BizStrong business tool – individualized questionnaire to assist businesses with resources.
- Small Business Hardship Utility Bill Assistance
- City of Spokane Economic Development and Small Business Resources
- Resources & Polity Updates in support of the COVID-19 Emergency Response
- The Health Sciences and Services Authority (HSSA) of Spokane County. $240,000 support for organizations on the frontline of protecting our community and its citizens from the impacts of COVID-19.
Google OnAir offers free virtual workshops, events, and 1:1 coaching sessions to help small businesses and job seekers get the most out of their digital tools.
Small Business Relief Initiative and Fund – combined relief effort by GoFundMe, Yelp, Intuit QuickBooks, GoDaddy, and Bill.com. Make your contribution to help more small businesses receive grants.
Signs.com – Offering free printable signs for businesses for Covid-19 to show social distancing is important.