Small Business Relief: COVID-19 Resources for Startups
by Deborah Sweeney, AllBusiness.com
March 28, 2019
by Deborah Sweeney, AllBusiness.com
March 28, 2019
Small businesses are struggling to find relief during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Forbes, about 30 million small businesses across the United States are in trouble, with half that number blaming the pandemic for revenue decline. As states work to approve emergency funding measures for business owners, many companies are closing their doors and laying off staff. For many, the hope is that this will be a temporary situation rather than permanent.
Meanwhile, we’re in the present. Where can small businesses find relief right now? If you’re in need of help, this ever-growing list of resources may benefit your business.
SBA disaster assistance
Has your business or nonprofit been severely impacted by COVID-19? The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is working directly with state governors to provide disaster assistance loans to help those companies recover. These loans have low interest rates: the interest rate for small businesses is 3.75%; the interest rate for nonprofits is 2.75%.
These business disaster loans are provided through the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, which will offer up to $2 million to small businesses in assistance. Additionally, loans provided to qualifying businesses may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other small business bills. You may apply for a disaster assistance loan through the SBA website.
GoFundMe Small Business Relief Initiative
What happens when you partner GoFundMe, the world’s largest social fundraising platform, with Yelp, the company that connects people with great local businesses? You get a partnership that introduces small business owners to the Small Business Relief Initiative, a program to provide microgrants and fundraising tools to qualifying small businesses that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.
As part of the Small Business Relief Initiative, GoFund, Yelp, and accounting software provider Intuit Quickbooks are all pledging to donate up to $1.5 million in donations to the Small Business Relief Fund. Once that fund has been depleted, GoFundMe will continue to issue $500 in matching grants to qualifying businesses. This will allow small businesses to keep raising funds and inspire members of the community to assist with contributions and make donations.
Amazon’s Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund
Is your small business struggling in the Seattle area? You may be able to find relief in Amazon’s $5 million Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund. This fund was created to provide cash grants for businesses impacted by COVID-19 in and around the Seattle area.
As specified on the fund’s home page, eligible businesses include those with fewer than 50 employees or less than $7 million in annual revenue. Other eligible businesses include those with a physical presence a few blocks away from Amazon’s office buildings, that are open to the general public, and are reliant on foot traffic for customers.
Facebook Small Business Grants Program
You know what’s better than 100 million followers? $100 million in cash grants for small businesses. Facebook’s Small Business Grants Program is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits for businesses impacted by COVID-19.
At press time, the social media giant was still working out details about the eligibility and application status. However, we do know a few key steps that the program provides businesses:
Federal tax filing deadline extension
- The fund is available in the 30 countries where Facebook operates. The $100 million in cash grants and ad credits will be available for 30,000 eligible small businesses.
- The program, in addition to helping with rent costs and covering operational expenses, will allow small businesses to connect with even more customers and maintain a strong workforce.
- Facebook has launched a Business Resource Hub for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Here you’ll be able to find even more tools and resources to manage through a crisis like COVID-19.
Taxes are typically due on April 15th, but not this year. If you’re worried that you won’t be able to make the cutoff time with your small business, the deadline for federal tax return filing has been extended to July 15, 2020. This is the same extension date for individual and business tax filing for tax payments of up to $10 million.
State emergency relief
In addition to existing disaster and relief programs available in each state, new programs are also being launched.
In California, for example, the city of Sacramento has started a fundraising campaign called Donate4Sacramento. Donors may give to small businesses impacted by COVID-19, or they may direct their donations to the homeless, nonprofits, or families in need.
Check in with your local state to see which programs may be applicable to your small business. I would also recommend keeping an eye peeled to the news as well. New fundraisers and initiatives are being announced on a near-daily basis to provide small business owners with relief during COVID-19.