COVID-19

Resources for Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19

The Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) is taking all possible proactive measures to support and assist our clients with the economic impact on their businesses from necessary COVID-19 containment measures. We know that this is an especially difficult time for small businesses struggling to stay afloat.”  The WBDC is actively advocating for grant and loan solutions to ensure the financial sustainability of our clients. We will be posting daily updates to this page with useful information about the ways small businesses can prepare for the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their business. Below, please find a list of resources for small businesses during this challenging time.

Resources You Can Pursue Today

FEDERAL DISASTER LOANS AND GRANTS
Many small business owners are struggling to get started. There are loan and grant opportunities available for financial relief by the Federal Government through the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Find out how you can apply today.


EMERGENCY LOAN PROGRAMS BY STATE
State, City and local governments have stepped up in a significant way and have launched loan funds for small business owners with attractive terms. Find out how you can apply today.


WBDC DIRECT LENDING PROGRAM Restricted for State of Illinois Clients
With funding directed towards Illinois-based businesses, we are supporting small and micro business in low to moderate income communities through the WBDC Direct Lending Program.


GRANTS
Funders from across the country are extending opportunities for small and microbusinesses to seek grant aid. Many small and micro do not have the capacity to absorb additional debt. The various grant programs aim to address the gap. Learn more about the grants trying to help small businesses.


TAX BENEFITS
Taxes can be tough for small businesses during the best of times; now, they are more daunting than ever. That’s why the federal government has taken steps to give small businesses a reprieve. Learn more.


UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS
The Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides three important expansions to unemployment. These expansions are federal programs, but they will be administered through the states. That means that each state implements the policies through their own Unemployment Insurance program. Learn more.


 

 

FEDERAL DISASTER LOANS AND GRANTS
The CARES Act established new loan and grant programs to address COVID-19’s impact on small businesses.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) –  Click here for  Clear & Concise Guidelines for PPP Loan Forgiveness
The Paycheck Protection Program is the cornerstone of the CARES Act and provides forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees during the COVID-19 crisis. It provides small businesses with funds to pay up to 8 weeks of payroll costs including benefits, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. The PPP program’s initial $349 billion funding under the CARES Act was exhausted after just 14 days. The current second round of funding approved by Congress adds an additional $310 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) 
These low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital are being made available to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. The second round of funding approved by Congress adds an additional $50 billion to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (only $7 billion was authorized initially under the Cares Act).

  • EIDL Loan terms are very favorable for small business owners
  • Loan amount – up to $ 2 million
  • Interest rate of 3.75% for small businesses
  • Loan maturity terms up to a maximum of 30 years
  • First payment is deferred for one year
  • Borrowers must be in business as of January 31, 2020
  • No personal guarantees for loans under $200,000
  • No collateral requirements for loans under $500,000.

When the when Disaster Loan Assistance Portal opens up again, you can apply for the EDIL loans at  https://covid19relief.sba.gov/

Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance  
These grants provide an emergency advance of up to $10,000 to small businesses and private non-profits harmed by COVID-19 after they have applied for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). To access the advance, you must first apply for an EIDL and then request for the advance during the application process. This loan advance will not have to be repaid.

  • The EIDL advance is not a straight $10,000 and is based on employees on staff.
  • Current guidance is $1000 advance per employee.
  • The second round of funding approved by Congress allocated an additional $10 billion for the EIDL Advances/ Grants ($10 billion was authorized initially to this grant program under the CARES Act).

Small Business Debt Relief Program 
To ease your fears about keeping up with payments on your current or new SBA loan the SBA is providing financial reprieve to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The SBA will pay 6 months of principal, interest, and any associated fees that borrowers owe for all current 7(a), 504, and Microloans in regular servicing status as well as new 7(a), 504, and Microloans disbursed prior to September 27, 2020.

  • This relief is not available for Paycheck Protection Program loans or Economic Injury Disaster loans
  • This is not a deferral! The SBA will make the loan payments for you
  • The debt relief is supposed to be automatic, but businesses should check in with their lenders if they have any questions regarding this payment relief.

Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program 
Enables small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly. This pilot program allows SBA Express Lenders authority to deliver expedited SBA-guaranteed financing on an emergency basis for disaster-related purposes to eligible small businesses, while the small businesses apply for and await long-term financing.

  • These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing, and they can be a term loans or they can used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan.
  • If a small business has an urgent need for cash while waiting for decision and disbursement on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, they may qualify for an SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan.
  • Access the Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program Guide 


 

EMERGENCY LOAN PROGRAMS BY STATE
Each state in our region is establishing programs to support small businesses through the economic fallout from the COVID-19 outbreak.  To help our clients, we have the listings for the known programs within our region.

Illinois           Minnesota             Missouri         South Dakota         Wisconsin

Illinois:

 Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund 
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) established the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund to offer small businesses low interest loans of up to $50,000.

  • Businesses located outside of the City of Chicago with fewer than 50 workers and less than $3 million in revenue in 2019 will be eligible to apply. 
  • Successful applicants will owe nothing for six months and will then begin making fixed payments at a below market interest rate for the remainder of a five-year loan term. 
  • Applications are no longer being accepted at this time.

 City of Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund 
$100 million in seed funding from the City of Chicago and philanthropic institutions and corporations created the Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund.  This Fund provides neighborhood businesses impacted by the COVID-19 health crisis with emergency cash flow, low-interest loans with up to a 5-year maturity.  

  • Eligible businesses must be located in Chicago and have experienced more than a 25% revenue decrease due to the impact of COVID-19
  • Have fewer than 50 employees and gross revenues less than $3 million.
  • Applications are no longer being accepted at this time.

Cook County Community Recovery Initiative  

On June 8, 2020, the Cook County Bureau of Economic Development launched the Cook County Community Loan Fund, as the second phase of the Community Recovery Initiative for small businesses and gig workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Overview about the Cook County Community Recovery Fund:
The Cook County Community Recovery Fund, part of the Cook County Bureau of Economic Development’s Community Recovery Initiative, is open to certain small businesses, “gig” workers, and independent contractors. All applicants must be located in suburban Cook County (outside the boundaries of the City of Chicago). Loans in this program will be provided by Cook County lending partners under the administration of the Chicago Community Loan Fund in partnership with Accion, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives Micro Finance Group, SomerCor, and the Women’s Business Development Center.

About the Loans:
The Cook County Community Recovery Fund offers one-time, zero-interest loans of up to $20,000 for small businesses and up to $10,000 for independent contractors in suburban Cook County.

Small businesses located in suburban Cook County are eligible for the fund if they:
• Employ 25 or fewer employees
• Earn less than $3 million in annual revenue
• Saw revenues decrease up to 25% as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic

Independent contractors located in suburban Cook County are eligible for the fund if they:
• Make at least half their yearly income in 1099 contract work
• Earn less than $100,000 annually
• Reside in suburban Cook County (outside the boundaries of the City of Chicago)

Application Process:
The application will remain open for ten days from the launch. Loans will be available to applicants who qualify until the funds are exhausted.

If you have questions about the fund, please  click here.

 

 

Minnesota:

Minnesota Emergency Loan Support 
The Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development (DEED) has established a Small Business Emergency Loan Program to assist small businesses directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal is to provide a source of working capital to help small businesses sustain operations during this difficult time. 

Loans will range from $2.5K to $35K and will be based on the firm’s economic injury and financial need.

To be eligible for a Small Business Emergency Loan, the business must be able to demonstrate it was directly and adversely impacted by the conditions that precipitated the emergency declarations as noted in Executive Orders 20-04 and 20-08.

These include business entities that provide public accommodations, including but not limited to restaurants, bars, theaters, cinemas, fitness centers, gyms, amusement parks, bowling allies, country clubs, and sports clubs.

For additional details about the program, eligibility requirements, and information regarding how to apply, please click here.

 Minnesota Small Business Loan Guarantee Program  
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) now offers the Minnesota Small Business Loan Guarantee Program

Summary of Program: This program provides a 80% loan guarantee for loans up to $250,000 made by a qualified economic development lender within this program. This program is intended to give incentives to the private market to make loans to small businesses and provides the guarantee for those loan dollars. The state is providing a loan guarantee of $10 million which is likely to leverage between $20 and $25 million in lending by private banks.

  • Allowable loan uses must be exclusively in Minnesota and include machinery or equipment purchases, maintenance, or repair; expenses related to moving into or within Minnesota; and working capital when the working capital is secured by fixed assets when possible.
  • The funds can only be provided to Minnesota businesses with fewer than the equivalent of 250 employees.
  • The program will provide an 80% guarantee up to a maximum of $200,000.
  • A fee of .25 percent on the guarantee loan principal will be charged for each loan enrolled into the program.
  • All loans will be made by lenders enrolled in the program – no loans will come directly from DEED.

For additional details about the program, eligibility requirements, and information regarding how to apply, click here.

 

Missouri:

St. Louis Small Business Resource Fund 
The St. Louis Economic Development Partnership and the St. Louis Development Corporation are offering a zero percent interest loan of up to $5,000 for small businesses in the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County that have sustained economic damage due to the COVID-19 crisis. Loan details can be found here.

Apply here. For questions about the program, please email bizhelp@stlpartnership.com.

St. Louis Community Foundation Regional Response Fund

The St. Louis Community Foundation has established two funds to help small businesses and nonprofits.

  • The Gateway Resilience Fund will help provide short-term monetary relief to small locally owned businesses and their employees. The St. Louis Downtown Community Improvement District is also offering up to $5,000 in grants for downtown restaurants.
  • The Regional Response Fund was established to direct aid to local nonprofit organizations delivering services to people affected by the virus including children, the elderly, and isolated.

 

 South Dakota:

South Dakota Emergency Loan Support 

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) has established Governor Noem’s Small Business Relief Fund to assist small businesses directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal is to provide a source of working capital to help small businesses sustain operations during this difficult time. 

  • Loans will range from $5K to $75K
  • Applications will be evaluated on a “first come, first serve” basis
  • To be eligible for Governor Noem’s Small Business Relief Fund, the business must be able to demonstrate the following:
    1. Be a small for-profit or non-profit business as defined by the SBA, but with less than 250 employees
    2. Physical presence in South Dakota
    3. Established prior to March 2020
    4. Provide a certification from a South Dakota banker and/or South Dakota CPA that: he/she has reviewed recent financial condition of the applicant, that the applicant’s business has incurred economic injury as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the applicant needs the funds for South Dakota operations
    5. Have a personal credit with a minimum score of 650; lower requires a special exception
    6. Demonstrate 1:1 debt coverage ratio with the new debt factored under normal circumstances

For additional details about the program, eligibility requirements, and information regarding how to apply, click here. 

 

Wisconsin:

Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC) 
WWBIC COVID-19 Fast Track Loan Program is focused on existing businesses looking for business financing during COVID-19. Business owners have two options to pick from depending on their needs: a line of credit or a term loan.

 Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) 
WEDC is making targeted grant funds available to small businesses suffering losses due to COVID-19. The Small Business 20/20 Program provides grant funds to approved community development financial institutions (CDFIs). Approved CDFIs will award grants of up to $20,000 to their existing loan clients to assist with cash-flow challenges resulting from COVID-19. Businesses that are not currently CDFI clients are not eligible to access these funds, but WEDC will work to expand access to funding through other programs as more resources become available. If you have more questions, view this FAQ page on SB20/20.


 

WBDC DIRECT LENDING PROGRAM (Restricted for State of Illinois Clients)
With funding directed towards Illinois-based businesses, we are supporting borrowers through the WBDC Direct Lending Program by:

  • Deferring payments for the next three months and extending loan maturities for three months from original maturity dates.
  • Increasing financial technical assistance support needed by clients.
  • Pursuing emergency funds to provide loans with longer principal grace periods, extended maturities, lower interest rates, collateral over advances, and faster underwriting standards.
  •  
  • WBDC COVID-19 ADVISING AND TRAINING (Restricted for State of Illinois Clients)If you are in the beginning stages of starting a business or looking to scale your current business, and have been negatively impacted by COVID-19, we offer no-cost one-on-one advising sessions and training resources.  Use this link to directly access  advisor calendars.
  • We are also thinking about and planning for small business survival and recovery programs. So much is at stake with the public health crisis we are facing right now and the long road to economic recovery ahead of us.


GRANTS
Funders from across the country are extending opportunities for small and microbusinesses to seek grant aid. Many small and micro do not have the capacity to absorb additional debt. The various grant programs aim to address the gap. Learn more about the grants trying to help small businesses.

Chicago Microbusiness Recovery Grant Program 
The City of Chicago recognizes that COVID-19 has put a difficult burden on our business and non-profit community. While there are many loan opportunities available on the local, state and federal level, the City understands that not all businesses are able to take on debt during this challenging time. To address this, the City of Chicago has established the Microbusiness Recovery Grant Program. This program will distribute $5,000 grants to up to 1,000 businesses with four or fewer employees in low- and moderate-income areas of the city that have been severely impacted by COVID-19 and could most benefit from a grant. Applications are available now and will be open until 5:00pm on Monday, May 4. Grants will be distributed via a lottery, with winners equitably distributed across business types and eligible Community Areas based on population. Apply today

Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund 
Thanks to a $2.5 million investment from Verizon, LISC is offering grants of up to $10,000 to help small businesses fill urgent financial gaps until they can resume normal operations or until other more permanent financing becomes available. Applications for the second round of grants are due on April 28th.  Apply today.

Facebook Small Business Grants Program 
Facebook is offering $1.25 million in cash grants and ad credits to businesses located in Cook County. Businesses who have been operating for over a year, employ 2 to 50 people, and have experienced challenges from COVID-19 are eligible to apply. Applications are due on May 6th.  Apply today.

The Red Backpack Fund 
The Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation donated $5 million to support female entrepreneurs in the wake of COVID-19 and teamed up with GlobalGiving to establish the Red Backpack Fund. Majority women-owned businesses and nonprofits with annual revenues less than $5 million are eligible to apply for a $5,000 grant.  Apply today.

Restaurant Strong Fund 
Samuel Adams and the Greg Hill Foundation have teamed up to offer $1,000 grants to as many restaurant workers as they can across 20 states, including Illinois. The crowdfunding effort, seeded with a $2 million donation from Samuel Adams, seeks to help restaurant, bar, cafe and nightclub workers during this time of hardship. Apply today.

GoFundMe Small Business Relief Initiative 
The Small Business Relief Initiative was started by GoFundMe to help small businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and empower their communities to rally behind them. GoFundMe has partnered with Yelp and Intuit QuickBooks to provide small business owners with the financial support and resources needed to continue running their businesses during and after the coronavirus crisis. Supporters can donate to the Small Business Relief Fund, which will issue $500 matching grants to qualifying businesses that raise at least $500 on GoFundMe . Learn more.

Google Ads COVID-19 Small Business Ad Credit Program 
To help alleviate some of the cost for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to stay in touch with their customers during this challenging time, Google is giving small businesses $340 million in ad credits to businesses around the globe. Learn more. 

Hello Alice Grants 
Hello Alice is offering $10,000 grants being distributed immediately to small business owners impacted by coronavirus, as part of our broader mission to ensure Business for All. In addition to funding, grant recipients will receive ongoing support from the Hello Alice community. Learn more


 


TAX BENEFITS

Payroll Tax Credits 
The IRS and the Department of Labor announced that under the CARES Act, small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits. These credits are designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees. Find out how these credits will benefit small businesses at this link .

Federal Tax Filing and Payment Due Date Extension
Tax Day has been moved from April 15 to July 15. Tax filings and payments for all federal income taxes (including self-employment tax), regardless of amount will be due on the July date without interest or penalties.

  • Filing season extension:The federal income tax filing due date is automatically extended from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020. IRS news releases in English and Spanish are on the    special coronavirus page.
  • Payment extension: The IRS also has updated the  payment extension statement to July 15, 2020.
  • New business refundable credits: Small and midsize employers  can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits, designed to promptly and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing coronavirus-related leave to their employees.

State-by-State Tax Filing and Payment Due Date Extensions

Illinois: Extended tax filing and payment due dates from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020
Iowa: Extended tax filing and payment due dates to July 31, 2020
Kansas: Extended filing due date from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020 and will waive interest and penalties for payments made on or before July 15, 2020
Minnesota: Extended tax filing and payment due dates from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020
Missouri: Extended tax filing due date from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020 and penalties and interest will begin to accrue on unpaid balances as of July 16, 2020
Nebraska: Extended tax payment due date from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020
North Dakota: Extended tax filing and payment due date from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020
Wisconsin: Extended tax filing due date from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020 and penalties and interest will begin to accrue on unpaid balances as of July 16, 2020


 

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS
The Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides three important expansions to unemployment:

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): expands unemployment benefits to the self-employed, freelancers and independent contractors
  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC): Gives benefit recipients and extra $600/week on top of state determined benefits through July 31st.
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC): provides 100% federal funding for states to provide up to 13 weeks of additional compensation after regular unemployment compensation ends
  • These expansions are federal programs, but they will be administered through the states. That means that each state implements the policies through their own Unemployment Insurance program. You’ll have to apply directly with your home state to get your benefits. Most states offer 26 weeks of unemployment assistance. Benefit amounts are calculated based on previous earning. The CARES Act establishes a minimum benefit equal to 50% of the state’s average weekly UI benefit. In February 2020, the average weekly benefit was about $387, and the minimum benefit about $194.
  • These provisions are effective through the end of the year (12/31/20) unless the benefits are extended.

State-by-State Links for Unemployment Benefits
Illinois
Iowa
Kansas
Minnesota
Missouri
Nebraska
North Dakota
Wisconsin 


Beware of Predatory Lenders
Scammers are using this global crisis to take advantage of people, many of whom may be more vulnerable during these uncertain times. They are capitalizing on prevailing fears and anxieties to fleece victims of their money and steal their identity.

It’s important to be vigilant and careful so you don’t fall victim to these schemes. All the SBA’s loan applications are completely free, so you should never pay an application fee for an SBA loan. Be sure to check the interest rate as published by the SBA, too, because many fraudsters will attempt to add interest to your loan. You can ensure that you’ll avoid these scams if you apply directly with the SBA or through a trusted, SBA-authorized lender.

Learn more about guarding against fraud by reviewing the SBA Office of the Inspector General’s warning.