As various state counties begin to progress through phases of the Governor’s plan to reopen Washington, many businesses are still suffering under the restrictions. Any unplanned downtime for a business is an immediate loss of income, not just for company owners, but for their employees as well.
Multiple financial resources are available to Washington State and Spokane area businesses to aid in these hard times.
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
Businesses can apply for low-interest loans and an advance called the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and Emergency Advance through the SBA. The advance provides up to $10,000 in relief funds to businesses that are going through temporary financial hardship and does not have to be repaid; however, the amount of the advance will be deducted from the total loan eligibility. Applicants do not need to be approved for a loan in order to receive an advance. As of June 15th, new applications are being accepted for qualifying small businesses and U.S. agricultural businesses.
Other loans offered include the Express Bridge Loan, allowing small businesses that have existing relationships with participating lenders to access up to $25,000.
Additionally, the SBA offers the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This program allows small business owners to keep employees on their payroll. Loans offered through this program will be forgiven if all workers are kept on payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. Sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed workers can also apply for assistance.
On June 5th, Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act became law, allowing the option to extend the forgiveness time period from 8 weeks to 24 weeks. This bill also established a minimum maturity of 5 years on loans with a remaining balance after forgiveness.
The SBA will provide postponement of all principal, interest, and fees on current and new SBA 7(a) loans through Sept. 27, 2020, for up to 6 months.
Greater Spokane Inc. (GSI), and StartUp Washington: Washington State Department of Commerce
A new small business relief program, the Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grant (WWSBEG), is accepting applications facilitated by GSI. The program is administered with $5 million from the Department of Commerce to provide relief for businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This grant can be used along with other local, state, and federal programs, with up to $10,000 in emergency funds available to eligible businesses. To be eligible, a business must have 1-10 employees, be a for-profit entity, and have operated for more than 1 year. Funds can be put towards operating expenses such as rent, supplies and inventory, utilities, consulting, marketing, and training. Approval decisions will be made by the Department of Commerce.
Applications and additional resources for navigating this crisis can be found on StartUp Washington’s website.
USDA Rural Development
Rural Development has taken various actions to help rural residents, businesses, and communities impacted, including loan payment assistance, loan and grant application deadline extensions, and accessibility of care and resources. Postponements on foreclosure and eviction, immediate forbearance of loans upon request, and the ability to request payment deferrals will apply to direct and guaranteed loan programs.
For specific details on each of these provisions, visit: https://www.rd.usda.gov/coronavirus