Need a loan? Local nonprofit and NC SBA are here to helpBy Chanel R. Davis, Peacemaker Contributor / April 3, 2020
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A nonprofit is offering some relief to local small businesses directly impacted by COVID- 19 and executive orders put in place by the state of North Carolina and the United States. With stay-at-home orders in effect through April 29, 2020, a lot of businesses are hoping they have a business to come back to and although the federal government and the Small Business Administration are rolling out its loans, those will take time.
“It’s our response to make sure that businesses are able to cover their costs in the short term. The goal with this fund is to be able to provide up to six weeks of operating expenses,” said Wilson Lester, executive director of Piedmont Business Capital (PBC). “There are quite a number of resources that are available and more coming available but that doesn’t mean cash right away. We are going to deploy capital to businesses in short order.”
Piedmont Business Capital is offering the Small Business Continuity Fund for those who are seeking some immediate relief. This is an emergency fund to provide low barrier access to capital to small businesses in Greensboro.
“The goal with this fund is to be able to provide up to six weeks of operating expenses,” Wilson said. “Businesses that focus on events, shared space, or personal care businesses like hair care, massage therapy, yoga, etc., are not able to generate income currently due to their sit and stay nature. We want to concentrate these resources to those businesses that have been deemed subjugated to the inability to operate during this time.” PBC will collect information from businesses impacted and evaluate the validity of the company requesting support and their demonstration of COVID-19 decline in profitability. Businesses that are restaurants, bars, hospitality and event related firms are exempt from displaying an impact.
“To some degree, every business in the U.S. has been impacted by this event. I’m not going to make claims that one person’s situation is better than another’s. What we can clearly point to is that restaurants have had to close indoor dining meaning their revenue model has shifted from their intended business plan so they’re not able to generate the money that they normally would,” he said.
Through its board and partners, and in conjunction with Greensboro City Council, PBC will deploy small-dollar zero percent interest loans from $5,000 to $10,000 depending on the need of the business with all payments deferred for the first 90-days on 48 to 60-month terms. To apply, business owners must have their articles of incorporation, the last months of personal and business bank statements, a copy of their lease or mortgage documentation, a list of monthly expenses with verified documentation and a year to date payroll summary. After providing all the details, including the cost to operate for four-week period, applicants who are approved could receive capital up to 1.5 times that amount not to exceed $10,000. Applicants could receive a decision in 48 to 72 hours.
“What we understand is if we want a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in Greensboro where all people have access to capital then we cannot afford to let businesses that are troubled by this pandemic not have some financial support at as low cost as possible during this time,” Lester said. “That’s why we’ve looked at ourselves internally and are looking to our strategic partners in the community to help us provide small business capital that we can provide at zero percent interest.”
The nonprofit will also support businesses impacted by COVID-19 with wrap-around services to counsel the business through the changing landscape of commerce as a direct result of this virus.
Greensboro/ Triad Businesses
Greensboro business leaders, legislators and small business owners in the Triad were on a phone conference Tuesday hosted by Gerry McCants of the Greensboro Business League, where many leaders and Small Business Administration Regional Director Thomas Stith III spoke about the loans and initiatives that were rolled out by the federal government.
“The purpose of the call is to share with you opportunities with SBA and more importantly give you a level of comfort and support that there are a level of resources in our community that you can access so that you won’t feel that you’re alone in the COVID-19 pandemic,” McCants said.
N.C. House Representative Amos L. Quick, III echoed that sentiment and stated that legislatures have been working diligently to ensure that small businesses are not caught in the cross hairs of this pandemic.
“On the federal and state level there are provisions that have been made and are being made for small businesses that will allow them to, if they’re not able to continue to operate, be able to make sure that they don’t go out of business,” Quick said.
“One of our great fears is that we will lose our small businesses, particularly our minority businesses because of lack of access to their customers and streams of money that are made available.”
Financial Assistance for Businesses
With the bipartisan passage of the CARES Act, a $2 trillion economic aid package to combat the coronavirus pandemic, more than $375 billion has been earmarked for small business relief, including $349 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees and keep them on the payroll; $17 billion for debt relief for current and new SBA borrowers; ad $10 billion in immediate disaster grants.
According to Stith, because North Carolina has been declared a disaster state, small business owners are eligible for an economic injury disaster loan. The loan goes up to $2 million and goes up to a 30-year term with a rate of 3.75 percent and 2.75 percent for nonprofits. The payback period has been deferred for a year.
“Those loans are designed to provide operating funds for businesses to cover payroll, accounts payable, to cover mortgage payments and to provide that economic infusion to help small businesses during this disaster,” he said.
Stith also spoke about the Economic Injury Advance Loan that allows the applicant to request up to $10,000 of immediate relief.
“That is basically a grant because you’re not required to repay that,” he said.
He also spoke about the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The PPP loan is designed as an incentive for business owners to keep their workers on the payroll. It may provide up to $10 million for payroll and other expenses. If all the employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks post loan, SBA will forgive a portion of the loans that were used for payroll, rent, mortgage and utilities.
“Once this initiative is in place this is a way to maintain people on the payroll while at the same time providing support to pay those individuals. That portion of the loan is forgivable,” Stith said.
Lester said that PBC doesn’t’ want anyone to spend any extra money to keep their businesses thriving and no one anticipated this.
“This is not the fault of the business owner. This is not a problem that could’ve been avoided if somebody made a different decision in their small business,” he said. “This is something that is affecting people globally and we want to be as responsive as possible to it and we have the flexibility to offer this opportunity and that we thought that it was the right thing to do.”
For more information, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call the hotline number at (336) 402-3953 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
For more information on SBA loans, visit the website: www.sba.gov/disaster or call 1(800) 659-2955.
Chanel Davis is a freelance journalist with the Carolina Peacemaker. She is based in High Point, N.C.