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Good news for small business from the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced improvements to the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program to better meet the needs of small businesses, and industries hit hardest by the pandemic. With the Delta variant, the struggle is far from over and many small businesses across the country are still in need of financial relief.  

The COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is on of many SBA programs offering assistance to businesses in need. The program is a federal disaster relief loan designed to better serve and support our small business communities still reeling from the pandemic, especially hard-hit sectors such as restaurants, gyms, and hotels. 

SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. (Photo Source)

“The SBA’s COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan program offers a lifeline to millions of small businesses who are still being impacted by the pandemic,” SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said in a press release

“We’ve retooled this critical program – increasing the borrowing limit to $2 million, offering 24 months of deferment, and expanding flexibility to allow borrowers to pay down higher-interest business debt. We have also ramped up our outreach efforts to ensure we’re connecting with our smallest businesses as well as those from low-income communities who may also be eligible for the companion COVID EIDL Targeted Advance and Supplemental Advance grants totaling up to $15,000.  Our mission-driven SBA team has been working around the clock to make the loan review process as user-friendly as possible to ensure every entrepreneur who needs help can get the capital they need to reopen, recover and rebuild,” Guzman continued. 

The SBA is ready to receive new applications immediately from small businesses looking to take advantage of these new policy changes.

Changes to the COVID EIDL program

The low-interest and long-term COVID EIDL program has helped millions of small business owners survive the impacts of the pandemic with its flexibility and affordability – allowing entrepreneurs to hire and retain employees, and purchase needed equipment and inventory.  

The SBA’s newest improvements will make the program even more flexible to meet the needs of struggling business owners. New improvements include: 

  • The SBA has increased the amount of funding that can be borrowed from $500,000 to $2 million for qualified applicants.  
  • The SBA has authorized COVID EIDL funds to be used to pay and prepay commercial debt and make payments on federal business debt in recognition of the financial reality many small businesses are facing during this crisis.
  • Small businesses will have time to recover from COVID-19 impacts by further deferring payments – up to two years after your loan origination date. 
  • Additionally, to help ensure the smallest businesses can access this crucial capital, the SBA has created a one-month exclusive window for businesses requesting $500,000. During this time, approvals and disbursements will focus 100% on loans $500,000 or less until October 8th, upon which approvals and disbursements will be opened up to all loan sizes.
  • Finally, to ease the COVID EIDL application process for small businesses, the SBA has established more simplified affiliation requirements to model those of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

You might be interested: How to still apply for Covid-19 Business Tax Credits ending Sept. 30

How to apply

Eligible small businesses, nonprofits, and agricultural businesses in all U.S. states and territories can apply. Visit www.sba.gov/eidl to learn more about eligibility and application requirements. The last day that applications may be received is December 31, 2021. All applicants should file their applications as soon as possible.

For additional information on COVID EIDL and other recovery programs please visit www.sba.gov/relief.

“As your SBA Administrator and a former small business owner myself, my goal is to make you, America’s small businesses, feel like the giants you are in our economy with programs that meet you where you are,” said Guzman.  

All business owners who have received previous loans through the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), or Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) can still benefit from COVID EIDL. For no-cost assistance for the COVID EIDL program, and every other SBA program, go to www.sba.gov/local-assistance and connect with a local resource partner near you.

How to still apply for Covid-19 Business Tax Credits ending Sept. 30

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 has provided businesses with various relief efforts. Now, several of these programs are coming to an end September 30, however there is still time for business owners to reap the benefits of the Covid-19 business tax credits before they end. 

Qualifying for Covid-19 business tax credit 

The Covid-19 business tax credits for small businesses provide businesses with dollar-for-dollar reimbursements that employers can use to provide paid sick leave to employees who cannot work due to Covid-19. These tax credits only cover paid leave between April 1, 2021 and September 30, 2021, but those who have not yet filed can do so before October 31, 2021. To receive the tax credit, employers should file Form 941, the Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return,  available on the IRS site. Qualifying businesses that file this form before October 31 will be able to claim credit for the year’s third quarter– July through September. 

A blog post by Rocket Lawyer –a free legal information and consulting site– details the various qualifications for applying along with additional information and legal advising about accessing Covid-19 business tax credits. 

To qualify for the business tax credits, businesses must have fewer than 500 employees. To use the credit, employees’ absence or inability to work must be for reasons related to Covid-19 between April 1, 2021 and September 30, 2021. These reasons including:  

  • Leave taken to get the COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Leave to recover from any illness or condition related to the vaccination.
  • Contracting COVID-19.
  • Caring for family members who have contracted COVID-19.
  • Quarantine periods related to COVID-19.
  • Experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and attempting to get a medical diagnosis or test result.

The credit covers both paid sick leave wages and paid family leave wages up to a certain amount. For paid sick leave wages, the credit covers up to two weeks of leave, up to $511 per day and $5,110 total. For paid family leave wages, the credit covers up to 12 weeks, up to $200 per day and $12,000 total. 

Self-employed individuals may also qualify. For additional details and guidelines visit the IRS.gov

Additional relief resources for small businesses 

While the Covid-19 business tax credits may be ending, there are still many resources for small businesses seeking relief. The Small Business Administration provides information for many COVID-19 relief programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program,  COVID-19 EIDEL, Restaurant Revitalization Fund, and more. 

You may be interested: NJEDA announces Henri and Ida relief grant to support recovery for small businesses 

restaurant, covid-19 worker

Applications for the SBA’s Restaurant Revitalization Fund are now open

The Small Business Administration’s Restaurant Revitalization Fund is now accepting applications. This program will provide emergency assistance for eligible restaurants, bars, and other qualifying businesses impacted by COVID-19.

restaurant, covid-19 worker, businesses impacted by COVID-19, RRF

Photo by dapiki moto on Unsplash

About the Restaurant Revitalization Fund 

During the Covid-19 pandemic, small businesses have been impacted the most, with many facing tremendous losses in revenue and others forced to shut down. Of these businesses, restaurants and food establishments have been hit the hardest, as Covid-19 safety restrictions have limited business flow. 

Under President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act, the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) has been established to provide funding to help restaurants and other eligible businesses recover from pandemic-related losses and stay open. The program will provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. Recipients are not required to repay the funding as long as funds are used for eligible uses no later than March 11, 2023.

Applications for the RRF are now open as of May 3, 2021. Apply now!

Who can apply? 

Eligible businesses who have experienced pandemic-related revenue loss as listed on the SBA site include: 

  • Restaurants
  • Food stands, food trucks, food carts
  • Caterers
  • Bars, saloons, lounges, taverns
  • Snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars
  • Bakeries (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
  • Brewpubs, tasting rooms, taprooms (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
  • Breweries and/or microbreweries (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
  • Wineries and distilleries (onsite sales to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
  • Inns (onsite sales of food and beverage to the public comprise at least 33% of gross receipts)
  • Licensed facilities or premises of a beverage alcohol producer where the public may taste, sample, or purchase products

How to apply? 

All eligible businesses can apply directly though the SBA’s application portal: https://restaurants.sba.gov or through SBA-recognized Point of Sale (POS) vendors. Participating POS providers include: Square, Toast, Clover, NCR Corporation (Aloha), and Oracle. 

If you need assistance preparing your application, check out the following resources: 

 Watch a Webinar: Learn how to apply for RRF

RRF Application Dates

Priority Period 

Applications open today at noon, Monday May 3, 2021. Throughout the first 21 days from the opening of the Application portal, the SBA will accept applications from all eligible applicants, but only process and fund priority group applications.

Priority groups are defined as a small business that is at least 51% owned by one or more individuals who are: women, veterans, or socially and economically disadvantaged. 

Socially and economically disadvantaged individuals are those “who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias because of their identity as a member of a group without regard to their individual qualities…and whose ability to compete in the free enterprise system has been impaired due to diminished capital and credit opportunities as compared to others in the same business area.” 

You might be interested: NJEDA & digitalundivided showcase resources for Black & Latino Entrepreneurs

Open to All 

From days 22 through funds exhaustion the SBA will accept applications from all eligible applicants and process applications in the order in which they are approved by SBA.

How funds can be used

Funds may be used for specific expenses including:

  • Business payroll costs (including sick leave)
  • Payments on any business mortgage obligation
  • Business rent payments (note: this does not include prepayment of rent)
  • Business debt service (both principal and interest; note: this does not include any prepayment of principal or interest)
  • Business utility payments
  • Business maintenance expenses
  • Construction of outdoor seating
  • Business supplies (including protective equipment and cleaning materials)
  • Business food and beverage expenses (including raw materials)
  • Covered supplier costs
  • Business operating expenses

For more information, access to forms and other specifications visit: sba.gov 

Latinas in Business partners with Rutgers’ Entrepreneurship Pioneers Initiative (EPI) Program

Jasmine Cordero is the director of Rutgers’ award-winning Entrepreneurship Pioneers Initiative (EPI) Program where she manages the 9-month training program focused on helping entrepreneurs in NJ grow their businesses and attain resources, financial coaching, peer-mentoring, and networking opportunities. 

Entrepreneurship Pioneers Initiative

Apply today! Deadline March 31.

The Entrepreneurship Pioneers Initiative (EPI) offered by Rutgers University’s Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development (CUEED) is an exclusive program that has helped countless entrepreneurs grow and improve their businesses for over 13 years. 

Now, Latinas in Business is becoming Strategic Partners with Rutgers’ EPI program to bring our Members more support and resources and help them get their businesses to the next level. Latina in Business Members will receive an exclusive discount on the program, paying only $300 instead of $550. 

Additionally, Rutgers will be sponsoring 3 scholarships for Latina in Business Members each year. 

“We are grateful and excited that Rutgers EPI program has partnered with Latinas in Business to give access to better knowledge, support and resources to our members. Latina entrepreneurs are a hard-working community that can use all the help they can get,” said Latinas in Business President and CEO, Susana G Baumann. 

Susana G Baumann with 2019 Latinas in Business Pitch Competition winners.

How the EPI Program will help you grow your business

Speaking with Jasmine, she explains what the EPI Program does, what participants can expect and gain from the program, and how to apply. 

“The EPI is an award-winning program and has won several national and international awards for its innovative curriculum and aiding economic development. The goal is to help entrepreneurs have thriving, sustainable and profitable businesses.

Participants receive intensive business training, individual business and financial coaching, peer mentoring, networking opportunities and mentoring over a 9-month period to help them grow and improve their businesses. The program also helps participants develop the skills and tools needed to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and any other crisis that their business may face.” 

Jasmine Cordero as one of the judges at the 2019 Latinas in Business Pitch Competition.

What do small Business owners take away from the program? 

“Entrepreneurs leave the program with a road map, actionable, and measurable plan on how they are going to grow their business within the next three years. They also leave with an expanded network, a support network, and increased business knowledge to help them with their business growth.”

How do they graduate, and what are the requirements for graduation? 

To gain the full benefit of the EPI program, all participants must commit to:

    • Half a day training sessions biweekly on Fridays (Virtual via Zoom)
    • Additional hours (approximately 6-10) over the nine-month program for business development and financial coaching 
    • Developing and presenting a customized growth plan for your business
Entrepreneurship Pioneers Initiative

Visit https://www.business.rutgers.edu/cueed/epi for more information on the program and how to apply.

Is there funding involved?

Each participant will have their own business and financial coaches. As part of the coaching, the business coach will help them identify opportunities to grow and the financial coach will help them find funding. 

Who can apply? 

In order to be able to apply to the program you must be in business/fully operational for at least a minimum of 2 years and located in NJ.

Registration is now open for the 13th cohort. The deadline to apply is March 31. You can complete an application at https://www.business.rutgers.edu/cueed/epi.