Updated: April 23, 2020
There are a variety of public and private grants, loans, credits (and even free software) now available to small businesses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
We’ve assembled information on a number of different avenues for covering operating expenses, deferring taxes, running online ads at no cost, and more. As of the date of this blog post, some of these programs have just started to roll out. Others are about to roll out.
1. Federal Government
There are two components of the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that apply to small businesses.
Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
This program includes a $10,000 emergency grant that businesses and nonprofits can apply for. Repayment is not required. Any business with less than 500 employees that has incurred damages since the public health emergency was declared on January 31, 2020 can apply.
The program also includes low-interest loans that will have to be repaid. Businesses can apply for these to order to cover operating expenses during the downturn. The maximum loan per business or nonprofit is $2 million.
There is an estimated two hour and ten minute online application process on the SBA website. The application is primarily for the loan—however, an applicant can optionally indicate that they want the $10,000 grant as part of the loan.
Paycheck Protection Program
$349 billion has been allotted for the Paycheck Protection Program. This provides small businesses that employ less than 500 people with low interest loans up to a maximum of $10 million.
Loans from the Paycheck Protection Program can help businesses and nonprofits cover up to eight weeks of payroll costs and some other expenses. The loans are 100% forgivable if a business does not lay off any employees or if a business rehires any employees that have already been laid off—and they do so before June 30, 2020.
The loans do not require personal guarantees or collateral. Payments are deferred for six months. Part of the loan will be forgiven and not counted as income, as long as the money is spent on certain operating expenses within eight weeks of the loan’s origination.
According to the National Law Review, operating expenses include the following utility payments: “electricity, gas, water, transportation, telephone or internet, for which service began before February 15, 2020.”
The House passed the $484B Coronavirus Small Business Relief Bill, sending the fourth bipartisan coronavirus bill to President Trump’s desk. This legislation add $310B to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for forgivable loans.
The administration and Congress reached a deal to increase the funding of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) programs under the CARES Act to provide emergency financial relief for small business owners.
The legislation is expected to be voted on by the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday, April 23, 2020.
- Wells Fargo has stopped accepting applications
- Citibank has not yet started accepting applications
- Bank of America seems to be accepting applications for clients with existing business accounts only. Application →
- Like BofA, Chase Bank is only accepting applications for business customers only. Application →
- Sunrise Bank seems to be accepting applications from any small business. Application →
Note that a given lender’s status may change at any time.
2. State Government
Here in California, to help small businesses hold on to more of their cash, the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) has announced business owners do not need to make sales or use tax payments right now. According to the CDTFA, the state is deferring payments of up to $50,000 for one year.
This video provides information about an extension for business taxpayers:
3. Local Government
County and city governments are also offering programs. For example, San Diego established a $6.1 million-dollar small business relief fund that will provide grants and microloans of up to $20,000 to help businesses with less than 100 employees.
Check your county’s website and your city or town’s website to find out if there are available programs in your locale.
Large advertising platform vendors are feeling the crunch of the pandemic and resulting economic fallout. A number of them are offering small business grants and/or credits. In addition, many software vendors are offering free features or free licenses.
Google plans to dole out $340M in ad credits to small and midsize businesses. A key condition is that an SMB has to have been an active advertiser since Jan 1, 2019.
According to Google, qualifying SMBs worldwide will be informed in the coming months through notifications within their Google Ads account. No application is required.
Credits can be used at any point until the end of 2020 across all Google Ads platforms. Google has published a set of FAQs regarding the credits.
On the business software front, through September 30, 2020, Google is providing Google Workspace Basic customers the premium Google Meet features of more expensive Google Workspace editions.
Facebook will be making $100M in cash grants and ad credits available. According to Facebook, “up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in more than 30 countries where we operate will be able to receive a grant.”
This program is now available in all U.S. areas where Facebook operates.
To be eligible to apply, a business must have 2-50 employees, have been in business for over a year and have experienced challenges from COVID-19.
Within each country, the requirement is that the business be in or near a location where Facebook operates.
To the right is a snapshot of the current dropdown list of available locations in the United States. For U.S. businesses that are not in one of these areas, the message is, “We’re sorry, but we are not currently offering grants in your area.”
On 4/8/2020, Salesforce announced that the company, “will soon be offering $10,000 grants to U.S. small businesses to provide capital to help them weather this crisis.”
Fill in this form to get notified.
TechRadar tracks software, software features and services that are currently available for free from dozens of different vendors. The list is updated daily.