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Resources for Agents and Small Businesses During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Small Business Resources During COVID-19 Pandemic

Right now small business owners across the country are facing an unprecedented situation. It’s unclear how long the COVID-19 pandemic will last, and the impact it will have on the insurance industry (and the wider national and global economy) ultimately remains to be seen. But the anxiety of insurance agents across the country is real. With so much potential uncertainty we wanted to share some of the resources available to agents who are experiencing significant economic challenges due to the pandemic. Many of these resources are focused on financial assistance – loans and other economic incentives to help small businesses offset the impact of this crisis.

Federal Government Programs:

1. U.S. Small Business Administration

Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (via U.S. Small Business Administration)

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic small businesses located in all U.S. States and territories are eligible for business loans up to $2 million. Interest rates are currently 3.75% for small business and 2.75% for non-profits, with long-term repayments up to a maximum of 30 years (according to the SBA, terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay). You can apply online or call the SBA disaster assistance customer service center at 1-800-659-2955.

The SBA also provides a number of loan resources for small businesses to utilize when operating their businesses. For more information on loans or how to connect with a lender, visit: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans

The SBA has also developed Lender Match – a free online referral tool that connects small businesses with participating SBA-approved lenders within 48 hours.

2. Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

The United States Treasury Secretary just announced a three-month extension on the deadline for filing Federal taxes and tax payments for all taxpayers and businesses. Tax returns will now have until July 15 to be filed. This will apply to individual tax returns and businesses.

State Programs:

Many States have set-up resource sites detailing what is available to business owners in that State. These sites are constantly being updated, but we’ve created a guide to what’s currently online. All States are now eligible for Federal Small Business Administration Disaster Loans.

Arkansas – The State Chamber of Commerce has created a list of resources and regularly-updated information for business owners in the state.

California – Employers facing potential closures or layoffs can request America’s Job Center of California Rapid Response Services for help in evaluating your business and employee situation. Employers experiencing a hardship as a result of COVID-19 may request up to a 60-day extension of time from the state’s Employment Development Department (EDD) to file their state payroll reports and/or deposit state payroll taxes without penalty or interest.

Colorado – The State has created the Small Business Navigator as the first point of contact for new and existing business owners with questions about federal, state and local licensing requirements. The navigator also provides referrals to a variety of state and federal assistance programs and local small business training. In addition, the navigator maintains a comprehensive database of federal, state and local regulatory and permitting requirements. SMALL BUSINESS COVID-19 DISASTER RESPONSE HOTLINE: 303-860-5881

Connecticut – The Govenor's office is posting information for CT businesses on the Office of the Governor's website. The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development has also created a COVID-19 Business Emergency Response Unit dedicated to assisting businesses navigate resources and develop new resources. A dedicated phone line is has been set up at 860-500-2333 to provide assistance to Connecticut's small businesses for this purpose.

Delaware – Delaware has created a site with resources and information for Delaware businesses impacted during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak. You can sign up for the Division of Small Business mailing list to receive updates regarding Coronavirus and small businesses in the state.

FloridaThe Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program is currently available to small business owners located in all Florida counties statewide that experienced economic damage as a result of COVID-19.

Georgia – The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) has set-up a resource site to help businesses confronting the evolving COVID-19 pandemic.

Idaho – Idaho Commerce, in conjunction with Governor Little’s office, the SBA, and other State and Federal agencies, is working to provide resources and information to Idaho business and communities as they become available. For any questions on the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, contact Jerry Miller at (208) 287-0780 or jerry.miller@commerce.idaho.gov.

Indiana – The Indiana Economic Development Corporation is working with the State of Indiana and the Indiana State Department of Health to closely monitor the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and to continue supporting and providing resources for businesses in partnership with local and regional organizations across the state.

Iowa – The State has created a site gathering resources and information that may be of use to businesses across the state. The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) is also working to assess the impact of the pandemic in Iowa and have asked that businesses complete a survey, developed by University of Northern Iowa – Institute for Decision Making, to tell them what your business is experiencing and how your business is handling the current crisis. IEDA will use the information collected in this survey to inform its public policy in response to the crisis, as well as potential assistance to businesses. The deadline to complete this survey is Monday, March 23 at 5 p.m. Here’s the link to the survey.

Louisiana – The Louisiana Economic Development office is posting links to connect business owners with valuable resources. These links are also updated as soon as any new information becomes available, so please check this page often.

Massachusetts – The State of Massachusetts has announced administrative tax relief measures for small local businesses which have been impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

Maryland – Maryland has compiled resources for State businesses impacted by COVID-19 here through this Maryland Business Express Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for Businesses website.

Michigan – The State has created a list of resources and information for Michigan businesses during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak. They will continue to update this page as more resources become available. If you have any questions or wish to speak to MEDC directly, please call 888.522.0103.

New Hampshire – The New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs has launched a website offering resources for businesses affected by COVID-19

New Jersey – The NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development has set-up a resource center – NJDOL and the Coronavirus (COVID-19): What Employers and Businesses Should Know. The site includes guidance and resources for financial assistance.

New York – Empire State Development is providing up-to-date guidance for businesses and other stakeholders impacted by the virus. This is a rapidly changing situation and ESD will be updating the resources to reflect the latest information available.

New Mexico – New Mexico Economic Development Department has launched the new “COVID-19 Business Loan Guarantee Program.” The program will guarantee up to $50,000 or 80% of the principal of a loan made by a bank or other lender to a small business.

North Carolina – North Carolina has launched a resource site for businesses and employees in the State dealing with the impact of COVID-19.

Pennsylvania – The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development has put together a COVID-19 Business Resource guide that has been updated almost daily. There’s a list of contacts and resources that are available to assist affected businesses.

Oregon – the State has set-up a website compiling various resources available to businesses and employees during this time, including Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs (OAME) Small Business Loans from $5,000 to $50,000 and Business Oregon’s Capital Access Program and Credit Enhancement Fund

Rhode Island – Rhode Island’s Dept. of Commerce has launched a resource site for businesses and employees in the State dealing with the impact of COVID-19.

South Carolina – The State has put together a resource guide for businesses in SC impacted by COVID-19 under the auspices of the South Carolina Business One Stop and a helpful guide with contact information for businesses needing assistance.

Texas – Texas has launched a resource site for businesses and employees in the State dealing with the impact of COVID-19.

Tennessee – The State of Tennessee is providing regular updates including the necessary resources, information and support to help small businesses overcome the challenges that have resulted from COVID-19.

Utah – Utah has launched a resource site for businesses and employees in the State dealing with the impact of COVID-19.

Vermont – Vermont’s Agency of Commerce and Community Development has created a resource site for businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Virginia – Businesses impacted by COVID-19 can request to defer the payment of state sales tax due tomorrow, March 20, 2020 for 30 days. The Virginia Department of Taxation is extending the due date of payment of Virginia individuals and corporate income taxes. While filing deadlines remain the same, the due date for individual and corporate income tax will now be June 1, 2020. More information can be found here.

Washington – The State government has created a page dedicated to business relief during this crisis. They are also working to compile a larger list of local bankers, financial associations, telecoms, utilities and major employers that may be able to provide relief, such as:

  • Deferred bills, waived fees, discounts, no-interest loans and other support.
  • Debt and late-penalty forgiveness for companies and workers in order to help keep people employed.
  • Favorable credit terms for firms that encounter cash flow problems.

Governor Inslee has also announced the creation of a $5 million grant program for small businesses statewide using the Strategic Reserve Fund (SRF). The Department of Commerce is putting the finishing touches to the program’s guidelines and application. This link will become active when we are ready to accept applications so please check back.

Wisconsin – The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation has created a resource site for businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wyoming – The State of Wyoming’s Economic Development Agency has put together a resource site including COVID-19 Response Tips for Small Businesses.

Local/City Programs:

Chicago – The Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund (starting March 31) allows small businesses in Chicago to apply for low-interest loans of up to $50,000 with repayment terms of up to five years. The amount of the loan depends on revenues before the business was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses must show a 25% drop in revenue, have less than $3 million in revenue and fewer than 50 employees, with no current tax liens or legal judgments. You can apply online here. Include your most recent tax return, bank statements going back to October 2019 and a photo ID.

Denver – Denver Small Business Emergency Relief offers cash grants of up to $7,500 to businesses in industries particularly hard-hit by the coronavirus. This program is open to small businesses that have lost the ability to operate. Grants will be distributed monthly, and the first applications will be due March 31. Details are currently limited, but if interested you should fill out this form to get more information from the city.

New York City – The NYC Small Business Services is offering grants and zero-interest loans to businesses in specific categories of size and revenue impact. With the New York City Small Business Continuity Fund, businesses with fewer than 100 employees who have seen sales decrease by 25% or more will be eligible for zero-interest loans of up to $75,000 to help mitigate losses. Applications haven’t yet opened, but you can fill out an interest form to get more information when it’s available. Also the New York City Employee Retention Grant Program offers small businesses with fewer than 5 employees a grant of up to $27,000 to cover 40% of payroll costs for two months to help retain employees. You must show that you lost 25% of your revenue due to the coronavirus.

Los Angeles – LA has announced the City of Los Angeles Small Business Emergency Microloan Program. Businesses that provide low-income jobs can receive an emergency microloan of between $5,000 to $20,000 with repayment terms of six months to one year with interest rates of 0% and five-year loans with interest rates between 3% to 5%. Los Angeles has also instituted a moratorium on evictions of businesses impacted by the coronavirus through March 31. Los Angeles has also instituted a moratorium on evictions of businesses impacted by the coronavirus through March 31.

Portland – In Portland, through the Jade District-Old Town COVID-19 Small Business Response Fund, small businesses in the Jade District and Old Town Chinatown neighborhoods can apply for emergency funding. Up to $190,000 total is available with priority be given to Asian- and Pacific Islander-owned businesses.

San Francisco – San Francisco has announced the COVID-19 Small Business Resiliency Fund, where businesses with 1 to 5 employees can apply for up to $10,000 in emergency funding to help cover rent and employee salaries. To be eligible you must be able to document that you have lost 25% or more of your revenue, that you have less than $2.5 million in gross receipts and that you’re properly licensed to operate in San Francisco. Business owners can apply via this online application form and email it to investsf@sfgov.org (Note: you will need to supply proof of payroll costs and lost revenue).

San Francisco’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development has also developed a list of resources for business owners in the Bay Area. The city is rapidly instituting programs to help business owners. You can follow @sfoewd on Twitter to keep up to date with the latest information.

Seattle – The SeattleMet has created a list of resources for small business owners in the city. Grants of up to $10,000 are available for businesses that make 80 percent (or less) of the area’s media income (and have five or fewer employees). Also, the business and occupation tax deadline has been extended, and there are deferred payment plans for utilities.

Commercial Programs:

Facebook – On March 17, 2020 Facebook announced they will be providing $100 million in grants for small businesses. Details have yet to be announced for what businesses are eligible for the grants. They are currently taking applications and have a sign-up to stay updated when additional details are released.

Microsoft – To help with newly remote workforces, Microsoft is making their Teams product available to everyone via a freemium version with unlimited chat, built-in group and one-on-one audio or video calling, 10 GB of team file storage and 2 GB of personal file storage per user. It includes real-time collaboration with the Office apps for web, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.

PandaDoc – PandaDoc (a document automation software for small and medium-sized businesses) has introduced a new Free eSign plan, a free eSignature solution that they are offering worldwide.

Square – Payment processor Square is refunding all software subscription fees for the month of March for existing sellers who currently use Square Appointments, Retail, Restaurants, Loyalty, Team Management, Payroll, Marketing, and Square Online Store.

Topics: Featured, Small Business, COVID-19

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