Posts

National Entrepreneurship Day: Bounce back post-Covid with the Economic Injury Disaster Loan

Today is National Entrepreneurship Day, an annual event that occurs on the third Tuesday of November to honor our nation’s entrepreneurs. 

Officially Established in 2010, then-President Barack Obama proclaimed the last day of 2010’s National Entrepreneur Week as National Entrepreneurship Day. 

In the past year, U.S. entrepreneurs have faced historic challenges in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. Many businesses were forced to close, faced setbacks, and financial losses. However, we have also seen great hope and innovation during this time as entrepreneurs and business owners found ways to adapt and communities came together to help each other. Additionally, this time saw a boom of new businesses established during the pandemic. 

In a White House statement for the Proclamation of National Entrepreneurship Month 2021, President Biden said, 

“In the midst of the economic disruption caused by the pandemic, Americans started more than 4 million businesses last year, a 24 percent increase from the year before — the highest number of monthly business applications on record — and start-up rates growing the most among immigrants and Black, Latino, and Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Americans.  This is important for our future success, as small businesses are the engines of our economic progress — and the heart and soul of our communities.” 

To help entrepreneurs and small business owners recover post-Covid, various programs have been established dedicated to providing aid and assistance. One program small businesses can benefit from to bounce back financially in the Covid-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). 

Economic recovery for small businesses: COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan 

The COVID-19 EIDL is a federal small business loan program that supports small businesses’ recovery from COVID-19’s economic impacts by providing accessible and borrower-friendly capital. The program is open to small business owners, including agricultural businesses, and nonprofit organizations in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories. 

“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

The loan comes directly from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and must be repaid. It is a low-interest, fixed-rate, long-term loan to help businesses overcome the effects of the pandemic by providing working capital to meet operating expenses. 

Proceeds can be used to make regular payments for operating expenses, including payroll, rent/mortgage, utilities, and other ordinary business expenses, and to pay business debt incurred at any time (past, present, or future). 

Maximum Loan Amount: $2 million

Loan Term: 30 years

Interest Rate:

  • Businesses: 3.75% fixed
  • Private nonprofit organizations: 2.75% fixed

Payment Deferment: Payments are deferred for the first 2 years (during which interest will accrue), and payments of principal and interest are made over the remaining 28 years. No penalty for prepayment.

For more information visit the SBA site.

How to Apply 

To be eligible, applicants must be physically located in the United States or designated territory and must have suffered working capital losses due to the Coronavirus pandemic. A comprehensive list of additional eligibility requirements can be found here

To apply, first-time COVID EIDL applicants should complete the following steps:

  1. Confirm eligibility 
  2. Complete Intake Form.
  3. Sign up to create portal username via SBA email invite.
  4. Complete portal steps and submit relevant documents.
  5. Respond to SBA requests for signature, confirmation, and documents.

You might be interested: Excluded New Jerseyans Fund to provide pandemic-related financial aid to undocumented individuals

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.

Excluded New Jerseyans Fund to provide pandemic-related financial aid to undocumented individuals (read in English and Spanish) 

Human Services Acting Commissioner Sarah Adelman announced that applications for the Excluded New Jerseyans Fund (ENJF) cash assistance program are now open to eligible individuals who want to apply for the financial benefit.

The $40 million ENJF program will provide a one-time, direct cash benefit to eligible households that suffered an economic hardship due to COVID-19 and were excluded from for federal stimulus checks and COVID-19 related unemployment assistance.           

This includes undocumented individuals, residents returning from the justice system, and any other individuals otherwise excluded from pandemic-related financial help.

Households with annual incomes of up to $55,000 with a documented hardship or lost income due to COVID-19 can apply for this assistance. Eligible applicants will receive a benefit of up to $1,000 per eligible individual and a max of $2,000 per household.

Eligible individuals can go to ExcludedNJFund.nj.gov .

Sarah Adelman, Acting Commissioner (Photo source)

Applications will be processed in the order they are received and until funds are exhausted.

The ENJF program is run by the Department’s Office of New Americans (ONA).

“Eligible individuals can now apply for the Excluded New Jerseyans Fund and start the process to get this critical assistance,” Acting Commissioner Adelman said. “If you did not receive federal stimulus checks and pandemic unemployment assistance, you may be eligible. If you were impacted by COVID and struggled to pay for basic needs including housing, you may be eligible. Visit our website, find out if you are eligible and apply today.”

“We are glad we can extend this assistance to individuals who need it,” Deputy Commissioner Elisa Neira said. “Eligibility requirements are on the ExcludedNJFund.nj.gov website. If you know you qualify, the sooner you apply the better. We continue to encourage potential applicants to check if they are eligible and apply.” 

New Jersey is the seventh state to take this type of initiative, following California, Colorado, Washington, New York, New Mexico, and Oregon. It is expected that anywhere from 20,000 to 40,000 people will participate in this program. 

The state of New Jersey is committed to helping all families rebuild post-pandemic, included undocumented individuals and others who did not previously receive pandemic benefits. 

“The Excluded New Jerseyans Fund builds on Governor Murphy’s commitment to create an economy that works for all New Jerseyans. COVID-19 impacted many New Jersey families but not all were able to receive federal COVID assistance and relief. This fund can help make up for that,” said Deputy Commissioner Neira. “We know that many families impacted by COVID-19 continue to need support. We encourage residents who think they may qualify for this one-time cash assistance program to check their eligibility and apply at ExcludedNJFund.NJ.gov

How to Apply

Applicants will have to submit supporting documents demonstrating:

  • Exclusion from federal COVID-19 stimulus checks and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance;
  • Annual household income;
  • Identification and residency; and
  • Financial hardship due to COVID-19 caused by lost income due to reduced hours/lay off, inability to work due to isolation/quarantine, or due to their child’s remote school learning schedule, illness and/or death due to COVID-19, or inability to pay bills due to loss of income.

Applicants will be able to submit their documents online through a document upload service where they can upload PDFs, screenshots, or images of the supporting documents. Applicants are encouraged to upload all or as many of the required documents as this will help their application move through the approval process faster.

While supporting documents such as proof of identity and eligibility will be requested as part of the application process, applicants will not be asked to submit data related to their place of birth, citizenship or immigration status.

Applications for the Excluded New Jerseyans Fund (ENJF) are now open. (Image via Instagram)

For a list of documents that may be used to prove eligibility, visit here.

Individuals will have to confirm their eligibility before they are able to start the application process. Eligibility requirements for the program may be found here.

Free application assistance is available. For a list of community organizations who can help with filling out the application and answer questions, visit here.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Eligible applicants can expect to receive their benefit within 2-3 weeks after being notified that they are eligible.

“This assistance will be available until funds run out so we urge individuals who meet the eligibility requirements for these benefits and who can provide the required documentation to apply soon starting today,” said ONA Director Johanna Calle.

You might be interested: Affordable, quality child care is top priority for NJ working families, says Commissioner Sarah Adelman 

En Español 

La comisionada interina de Servicios Humanos, Sarah Adelman, anunció que las solicitudes para el Fondo para Residentes de New Jersey Excluidos (ENJF, por sus siglas en inglés) ya están abiertas para las personas elegibles que quieran solicitar el beneficio financiero. 

El programa ENJF, dotado con $40 millones de dólares, proporcionará un beneficio directo en efectivo, de una sola vez, a los hogares que reúnan los requisitos necesarios y que hayan sufrido dificultades económicas debido a COVID-19, que hayan sido excluidos de los cheques de estímulo federal y de la ayuda al desempleo relacionada con COVID-19.          

Esto incluye a las personas indocumentadas, a los residentes que regresan del sistema judicial y a cualquier otra persona excluida de la ayuda financiera relacionada con la pandemia.

Los hogares con ingresos anuales de hasta $55.000 con una dificultad documentada o pérdida de ingresos debido a COVID-19 pueden solicitar esta ayuda. Los solicitantes elegibles recibirán un beneficio de hasta $1.000 por individuo elegible y un máximo de $2.000 por hogar. 

Los individuos elegibles pueden ir a la página ExcludedNJFund.nj.gov.

Las solicitudes se procesarán por orden de llegada y hasta que los fondos se agoten.

El programa ENJF es administrado por la Oficina de Nuevos Americanos (ONA, por sus siglas en inglés) del Departamento.

Elisa Neira, Deputy Commissioner (Photo source)

“Las personas elegibles ya pueden solicitar el Fondo para Residentes de New Jersey Excluidos (ENJF, por sus siglas en inglés) y comenzar el proceso para obtener esta asistencia crítica”, dijo la comisionada interina Adelman. “Si usted no recibió los cheques de estímulo federal y la asistencia de desempleo por pandemia, usted puede ser elegible. Si se vio afectado por COVID y tuvo dificultades para pagar las necesidades básicas, incluida la vivienda, usted puede ser elegible. Visite nuestra página web, averigüe si es elegible y solicite hoy mismo”.

“Estamos contentos de poder extender esta asistencia a las personas que lo necesiten”, dijo la Vicecomisionada Elisa Neira. “Los requisitos de elegibilidad están en la página web ExcludedNJFund.nj.gov. Si usted sabe que califica, cuanto antes lo solicite, mejor. Seguimos animando a los posibles solicitantes a que comprueben si son elegibles y presenten su solicitud.”

Nueva Jersey es el séptimo estado en tomar este tipo de iniciativas, después de California, Colorado, Washington, Nueva York, Nuevo México y Oregón. Se espera que entre 20.000 y 40.000 personas participen en este programa.

El estado de Nueva Jersey se compromete a ayudar a todas las familias a reconstruir después de la pandemia, incluidas las personas indocumentadas y otras que no habían recibido previamente los beneficios de la pandemia.

“El Fondo para Residentes de New Jersey Excluidos se basa en el compromiso del gobernador Murphy de crear una economía que funcione para todos los habitantes de Nueva Jersey. El COVID-19 afectó a muchas familias de Nueva Jersey, pero no todas pudieron recibir asistencia y alivio de COVID federal. Este fondo puede ayudar a compensar eso ”, dijo el Comisionado Adjunto Neira. “Sabemos que muchas familias afectadas por COVID-19 continúan necesitando apoyo. Alentamos a los residentes que piensan que pueden calificar para este programa de asistencia en efectivo por única vez a que verifiquen su elegibilidad y presenten una solicitud en ExcludedNJFund.NJ.gov ”.

Cómo Aplicar

Los solicitantes tendrán que presentar documentos justificativos que demuestren:

  •         Exclusión de los cheques federales de estímulo COVID-19 y de la asistencia de desempleo por pandemia;
  •         Ingresos anuales del hogar; 
  •         Identificación y que vive en NJ; y
  •         Dificultades financieras debidas a COVID-19 causadas por la pérdida de ingresos debido a la reducción de horas/descanso, la incapacidad para trabajar debido al aislamiento/cuarentena, o debido al horario de aprendizaje escolar a distancia de sus hijos, la enfermedad y/o la muerte debida a COVID-19, o la incapacidad para pagar las facturas debido a la pérdida de ingresos.

Los solicitantes podrán presentar sus documentos en línea a través de un servicio de carga de documentos en el que podrán cargar archivos PDF, capturas de pantalla o imágenes de los documentos justificativos. Se anima a los solicitantes a que suban todos los documentos requeridos, o los más que puedan, ya que esto ayudará a que su solicitud avance más rápido en el proceso de aprobación.

Aunque se pedirán documentos justificativos, como la prueba de identidad y la elegibilidad, como parte del proceso de solicitud, no se pedirá a los solicitantes que presenten datos relacionados con su lugar de nacimiento, ciudadanía o estatus migratorio. 

Las solicitudes para el Fondo para Residentes de New Jersey Excluidos ya están abiertas. (Imagen vía Instagram)

Para ver una lista de documentos que se pueden utilizar para demostrar la elegibilidad, visite aquí.

Las personas tendrán que confirmar su elegibilidad antes de poder iniciar el proceso de solicitud. Los requisitos de elegibilidad para el programa se pueden encontrar aquí.

Hay asistencia gratuita para la solicitud. Para ver una lista de organizaciones comunitarias que pueden ayudar a completar la solicitud y responder preguntas, visite aquí.

Las solicitudes se revisarán por orden de llegada. El tiempo de espera para recibir los beneficios es de 2 a 3 semanas después de que los solicitantes hayan sido notificados que son elegibles.

“Esta ayuda estará disponible hasta que los fondos se agoten, por lo que recomendamos a las personas que reúnan los requisitos para recibir estos beneficios y que puedan aportar la documentación requerida a que presenten su solicitud comenzando hoy”, dijo la directora de la ONA, Johanna Calle.

“The pandemic caused much struggle for small business owners and we need to repair”, say Brooklyn2Bogota founders

Rosario B. Casas and Felipe Andrés Forero Hauzeur are the founders of Brooklyn2Bogota, a digital incubator for Hispanic business owners. Rosario is an award-winning women-in-tech advocate and serial tech entrepreneur. Felipe is an author, entrepreneur, engineer and veteran.  

The married couple founded Brooklyn2Bogota with the mission to close the digital divide post-Covid for business owners and entrepreneurs by focusing on empowerment, digital transformation, and business growth through a variety of activities and mentor lectures. 

In the fifth installment of the National Leaders for Latinx Advancement Series, Latinas in Business President and CEO, Susana G Baumann sat down with Rosario and Felipe to discuss the incubator program and how Latino businesses can grow post-pandemic. 

The pandemic push that launched their dream 

Brooklyn2Bogota leaders Rosario B. Casas and husband Felipe Andrés Forero Hauzeur. (Photo courtesy Rosario B. Casas)

The husband-and-wife duo first began envisioning Brooklyn2Bogota sometime in 2015. At the time they were living in New York City and Felipe was working as a diplomat for the community. Together, they began wondering how else they could help the Hispanic community, especially immigrants. They wanted to help the community in other ways, aside from the legal work Felipe was already doing at the time. 

As an entrepreneur, Rosario began imagining ways to help Latino business owners and entrepreneurs succeed and grow their businesses and soon the seeds for Brooklyn2Bogota were planted. She quickly began reserving the name ‘Brooklyn2Bogota’ across various sites and platforms with her early vision in mind. Over time, Rosario and Felipe continued to develop this idea of an incubator program that would nurture entrepreneurs and small business owners on their journeys. 

“We had planned to launch more or less for 2022,” said Rosario. “But then the pandemic happened, the crisis happened, and we knew we had to launch early. The pilot plan was launching the first cohort. Today we are in the third cohort.” 

The pandemic caused much struggle for small business owners, especially in minority populations such as the Latino community. In the past year since Brooklyn2Bogota’s lauch, three cohorts have provided resources, assistance, and mentorships to Latino entrepreneurs and business owners. Covid-19 brought many things into focus, such as the impact of technology in our lives and the importance of community and working together. 

“When you speak of unity, you have to understand the numbers and the power that we have,” said Felipe, speaking about the vast and growing Latino population in the US. “Hispanics are now almost 25 percent of the population of the United States.” 

As such a large population, the Hispanic community has the potential to impact the economy and the country’s businesses. However, for too long, minority communities have struggled to gain the resources and knowledge necessary for success and growth. This is where Rosario and Felipe stepped up to help through Brooklyn2Bogota’s programs. 

Closing the digital divide for Latino businesses post-Covid 

Brooklyn2Bogota’s program is based on three fundamental pillars: Leadership, Product and Growth. As a tech entrepreneur, Rosario understands the importance of technology when it comes to running a business. Since the pandemic, the digital divide has become more obvious. Many business owners struggled to shift online during the pandemic and their businesses suffered. Rosario and Felipe want to close that divide so that every entrepreneur may succeed. 

The incubator program focuses on helping non-tech entrepreneurs and business owners who are unfamiliar with the world of tech. They offer information, resources, and mentorship to accelerate and promote digital learning. 

Many past videos of lectures and mentor sessions available online for free and the information is delivered in Spanish. This was important to Rosario and Felipe, since language barrier is often a barrier for knowledge. There is a plethora of resources in English but not as much in Spanish for Latino business owners and entrepreneurs, the couple explained. Many Latinos also prefer to learn in their native language, especially when the concepts are new or complicated. 

women-in-tech

Rosario at TEDxTalk. (Photo courtesy Rosario B. Casas)

In the 10-week cohort entrepreneurs receive theoretical sessions and panels of specialized topics, dictated by carefully selected mentors. Focusing on the three pillars: Leadership, Product and Growth participants work to accelerate their growth in digital world post-COVID. The thematic mentoring sessions between members and participants provides them expert knowledge and guidance as they move through the program. 

You might be interested: Rosario B. Casas shares how the pandemic has accelerated technology and tech trends to keep an eye on

Finally, the program provides participants with a private network that brings together the mentors and participants who complete the program. This network allows for further connection, collaboration, and exchange of ideas in the future and continued growth for entrepreneurs and business owners. 

The fourth cohort is tentatively set to begin in April 2022. For more information and to apply, visit Brooklyn2Bogota.com

Keep employees on the payroll with the Employee Retention Credit 

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on businesses over the past year and a half. Many have struggled through financial difficulties and have had to cut back on employees to stay afloat. To help struggling businesses recover, the Biden-Harris Administration created various recovery programs as part of the American Rescue Plan Act. One program that small businesses should consider taking advantage of is the Employee Retention Credit program.

The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is a quarterly tax credit against the employer’s share of certain payroll taxes. The tax credit is 70% of the first $10,000 in wages per employee in each quarter of 2021. That means this credit is worth up to $7,000 per quarter and up to $28,000 per year, for each employee. If the amount of the tax credit for an employer is more than the amount of the employer’s share of those payroll taxes owed for a given quarter, the excess is refunded – paid – directly to them. 

These credits are available for all four quarters of 2021 and may deliver cash flow to your business as soon as you claim them. You can file for this credit for every quarter of 2021 on your form 941 filing and may also receive an advance payment of a portion of the credit. This program will be available to businesses through December 2021. 

Employee Retention Credit

Employee Retention Credit program (Graphic source)

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

ERC Eligibility

You can begin to determine whether you are eligible for the Employee Retention Credit for any given quarter by assessing these questions: 

  • Was your business fully or partially shut down due to a governmental order during any part of the quarter? 
  • Or was the business’s gross receipts in a quarter declined more than 20% compared to either (a) the same quarter in 2019 or (b) the immediately preceding quarter in 2020 or 2021? 

If the answer to either question is YES, and the business had 500 or fewer employees, then any wages paid in the quarter may count towards the $10,000 per employee amount. 

Additionally, businesses that received PPP loans in 2020 or 2021 can still claim the ERC. While wages used to apply for PPP loan forgiveness cannot also be claimed as ERC wages, remaining wages may be eligible for the credit.

Certain small businesses that opened after February 15, 2020 may also be eligible for the ERC for the last two quarters of 2021. If these businesses have less than $1 million in annual gross receipts, they may claim ERCs of up to $50,000 per quarter, even if the businesses have not been shut down or experienced declines in revenue.

Small business owners should take advantage of these programs while they still can as many are ending soon. For more information about the BidenHarris Administration’s recovery programs visit: TREASURY.GOV/CORONAVIRUS

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.

Grow with Google: Lucy Pinto discusses digital tools, trends, and resources for small businesses 

A report conducted by Grow with Google in partnership with the Connected Commerce Council found that since the pandemic began, 72% of Latino businesses are now using digital tools to reach customers online and keep their businesses open. 

Post-Covid Recovery: Trends in technology and digital tools 

Since the pandemic hit in March of last year, the impact on small businesses has been tremendous. Across the country, small businesses have struggled to stay afloat as restrictions continue to disrupt their business flow. Some of the small businesses that have been hit the hardest are minority-owned small businesses. 

During Latina in Business’ March virtual panel, “Latina Small Business Post-Covid: Recovery Resources and Trends,” panelists discussed how the pandemic has shifted our relationship with technology. Now more than ever, businesses are relying on digital tools to connect with customers, grow, and thrive. Lucy Pinto, who is the Manager of Diversity and Community Training programs for Google joined the conversation, sharing insights and resources on digital tools for small businesses. 

As the Grow with Google Program Manager, Lucy works to level the playing field for communities who face digital divides and barriers to digital resources. She manages the Grow with Google Digital Coaches Program which delivers free digital skills training for U.S. Black & Latino small businesses. 

Lucy Pinto shares digital trends and resources 

Lucy Pinto, Grow with Google Program Manager.

Pilar Avila, Latinas in Business Board Member and Chair of Finances and Governance, moderated the virtual panel. Below are some highlights from her conversation with Lucy Pinto on how small businesses can utilize digital tools, such as the Grow with Google program to help their businesses thrive. 

Pilar Avila  4:09  

So Lucy, access to technology. Digital Access has been, before, during and post pandemic critical for the growth of businesses. However, in many communities, many families, we have seen that the digital divide, and the lack of access to resources…has been accentuated with a pandemic. However, we know that you at Google are addressing exactly those challenges through your program Grow with Google Digital Coaches. Can you tell us about the program and the impact that it’s having as well as any growth trends that you’re identifying through the program, or any other services and programs at Google?

Lucy Pinto  5:45  

Yes, absolutely. Thank you so much for that. And thank you for the opportunity to be here….So Grow with Google is really Google’s initiative to provide digital skills training to Americans across all states. And so, as part of that initiative, one of our main focuses is to really focus on small business communities because we know that small businesses are the backbone of the country. And when you get a little bit more granular, what we do know, as data will show is that the rate at which Black and Latino businesses in the country are growing far extends those of other peers. And so we know that Black and Latino businesses, Latina businesses, as well, are fueling new business growth in the country.

And so in 2017, as part of an effort to help those businesses, those new Latino businesses that are launching and growing, we developed a program called the Grow with Google Digital Coaches Program to specifically cater and reach small businesses that are Black-owned, or Latino-owned. And through the Digital Coaches Program, we provide free digital skills training and coaching to help these small businesses grow and thrive online. And since 2017, we have actually helped train over 60,000 small business owners, where we have digital coaches.

Our coaches deliver workshops in English and Spanish as well, because we know that sometimes they’re you know, in these communities, especially, you have a lot of immigrant communities that come in, you know, they’re starting their businesses, they’re launching, and sometimes they prefer to get information in Spanish. And so we want to make sure that we’re not leaving anybody behind. And we have, we have those workshops in Spanish as well. 

When COVID hit, we really had to pivot our own program plan, because all of these trainings and programs were done in person. And so when COVID hit we pivoted to virtual and that April, I remember last April, we saw such a tremendous interest in learning about these digital tools. So much so that as a Grow with Google team, we ended up partnering with the Connected Commerce Council to lead a report on what are the trends that we’re seeing during COVID? What are our small businesses doing? How are they feeling? How are they thinking? And as part of that report, we actually found some very interesting facts, very specific to Latino small businesses.

You might be interested: Latina Leaders share small business post-Covid recovery resources 

Key findings from the report 

  • Since the pandemic began, a large percentage of Latino small businesses are relying on digital tools as a safety net. 
  • 32% of Latino small businesses have been forced to close because of COVID. That’s 1 in every 3. 
  • 72% of Latino businesses (compared to 60% percent of the general public) adopted Google tools and digital tools to reach customers online, to update their customers, and to expand their reach and stay open.

How to grow your business with Google

Grow with Google Digital Coaches Program delivers free digital skills training for U.S. Black & Latino small businesses. The program has trained over 60,000 businesses on digital tools and works on initiatives that invest in communities that are underrepresented online to untap their potential, help them succeed, and drive bottom line impact. As our world becomes increasingly more digital, these skills and tools will be vital to business growth and success so be sure to take advantage of these free resources. 

Additionally, the Grow with Google Small Business Fund through the Opportunity Finance Network provides financial support to minority-owned and women-owned small businesses. The Fund will allow community development financial institutions (CDFIs) to support both the short-term recovery and long-term financing needs of America’s small businesses by providing low-cost, fixed-rate loans of up to 10-years with an option for interest deferral. 

Since the fund launched it has distributed $90 million in funding to businesses across the US through the local CDFIs and there is still $80 million left to deploy. 

For more information on the fund visit the Opportunity Finance Network.

Tapping into Latinas’ potential could unlock $393 billion in economic value in the U.S. 

Did you know that right now Latinas hold the power to unlock $393 billion in economic value in the U.S. and reboot the post-pandemic economy? In fact, some may even say Latina business owners and entrepreneurs have a ‘midas touch.’

The untapped economic value of Latinas in the workplace

According to an article published by Forbes, Latinas have this ‘midas touch’ that could potentially deliver $393 bullion in incremental value to the U.S. economy. Additionally, the most recent State of Latino Entrepreneurship Report conducted by Stanford  Graduate School of Business found that much of the growth among new businesses in recent years has been driven by Latinas. The data from the report revealed that Latinas currently represent 40% of all Latino business owners and the number of Latina-led employer firms has grown 20% within the last five-year period. 

In the same article published by Forbes it was reported that in 2019 alone, Latina entrepreneurs owned 2.3 million businesses and generated $119 billion in revenue. However, despite the tremendous economic power of Latinas, the average size of Latina-owned businesses is much lower than that of others, averaging only $50,900 in annual revenue. Latina businesses have also been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic as data from the Stanford report shows. According to the report, 41% of Latinas have reported experiencing “large negative impacts” due to the pandemic and nearly twice as many Latina-owned businesses experienced pandemic-related closures (30%) compared to Latino- and White Male- owned businesses (16% and 18% respectively). 

Source: 2020 State of Latino Entrepreneurship Report

Latinas also suffer from unfair gender biases in the workplace, especially in the area of wages. The gender wage gap for Latinas is 55 cents per every dollar earned by a White, non-Hispanic man. Furthermore, a 2016 briefing paper from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that if current gender wage gap trends continue without any action, it will take over two centuries for the gender wage gap to close for Latinas

Latinas Equal Pay Day, gender wage gap

Latinas are among the most adversely affected by the gender pay gap. They are paid just 55 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men. (Source: latinaequalpay.org)

But this does not have to be the narrative for Latinas. Latinas are strong, powerful, and capable business owners, entrepreneurs, workers, and leaders. If given the opportunities to generate the same level of revenue as white-women-owned businesses, Latina-owned businesses would generate an additional $393 billion in annual revenue–a big boost for Latinas and the U.S. economy as a whole. 

Closing the gap and supporting the Latina market 

To reach this potential and truly unlock the economic value of Latinas, more companies, corporations, and legislative bodies need to take a chance on Latinas. We need to see more Latinas in corporate-level positions. More Latinas in leadership. More funding for Latina-owned businesses. 

Photo by Armand Valendez from Pexels

This past year we have already seen some step up to the plate. Earlier in January, the tech giant Apple appointed the first Latina ever to their Board of Directors. Monica Lozano, president and CEO of College Futures Foundation, was appointed as the eighth board member, bringing with her a broad range of leadership experience, as well as a long track record as a champion for equity, opportunity, and representation.

“Monica has been a true leader and trailblazer in business, media, and an ever-widening circle of philanthropic efforts to realize a more equitable future — in our schools and in the lives of all people,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Her values and breadth of experience will help Apple continue to grow, to innovate, and to be a force for good in the lives of our teams, customers, and communities.”

Giannella Alvarez, Latina board member

Driscoll’s new Latina board member, Giannella Alvarez (Photo: Business Wire)

Even more recently, the major berry company, Driscoll’s, appointed Latinas Giannella Alvarez and Graciela Monteagudo to their board. Both women were praised for their cultural and international knowledge, citing these skills as great assets for the company’s dealings in the global market. 

Speaking on Ginannella’s appointment, J. Miles Reiter, Driscoll’s Chairman and CEO said, “Giannella is a highly creative and decisive leader who has a proven track record of talent building and energizing organizations across countries, customers and channels. Her significant on-the-ground international experiences will serve as an invaluable asset as Driscoll’s continues to grow and adapt to the ever-changing marketplace.” 

Graciela Monteagudo, Latina board member

Driscoll’s new Latina board member, Graciela Monteagudo (Photo: Business Wire)

On Graciela, Reiter shared, “Graciela’s expertise in addressing the Mexican consumer and retail environment will be invaluable to Driscoll’s as we navigate increasing consumer demand in this important growth market. Her experience in consumer brands, especially in the health and nutrition sector, will bolster Driscoll’s capability and success in markets around the globe.”

In the small business sector, GrubHub has been working to support women-led restaurants. Four years ago the company launched RestaurantHER, a platform that connects women-led restaurants and empowers them to bridge the wage gap among women in the restaurant industry. And this year they are expanding and focusing an eye on supporting Latina-led restaurants, Forbes reported

Lastly, on the government level, supporting Latina business owners and entrepreneurs through funding and legislation is crucial to unlocking the economic value of Latinas. Appointing Latinas to government leadership roles is also incredibly important. This past year we have already seen great improvements such as with the appointment of Latina Isabella Casillas Guzman as SBA Administrator and various government programs dedicated to supporting minority-owned businesses. 

You might be interested: Stacie de Armas on breaking stereotypes and advocating for Latinas

President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act is pivoting to funnel more aid and relief toward minority-owned small businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic. The Act will help small businesses recover post-COVID by providing critical assistance to businesses across the country and delivering $50 billion in aid and relief. 

In New Jersey, the Murphy Administration is working to provide greater opportunities for minority, women, and veteran owned businesses through various key initiatives. These initiatives include a disparity study–the first in 20 years–to identify ways in which the State can contract Minority, Women, and Veteran-Owned Businesses (MWVOB) to provide goods and services. 

“This disparity study is not only long overdue, it is an integral part of our vision for a stronger, fairer, and more resilient, post-COVID economy that opens doors for diverse businesses to play a greater role in shaping our state’s future,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “This study will provide us with an opportunity to create a more equitable business environment, which is a win for us all.”

Other NJ organizations, such as New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) and NJ FAM are also providing resources and access to capital for Black and Latina business owners through the development of various funds and programs. 

In a recent Instagram Live, NJEDA CEO Tim Sullivan and digitalundivided CEO Lauren Maillian,  spotlighted the recently-proposed Black and Latino Seed Fund, which the NJEDA intends to create to drive capital to Black- and Latino-owned enterprises. 

A recording of the entire chat can be viewed below. 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by digitalundivided (@digitalundivided)

With many big name companies and government initiatives taking a chance on Latinas, the future is looking promising. Numbers show that Latinas are an industrious, innovative group, taking the lead in recent years as the fastest growing demographic of small business owners. 

It’s clear that the economic power of Latinas has been overlooked for too long. From small businesses to corporate, Latinas hold tremendous power and abilities. Wherever a Latina goes, she brings with her a special touch, her unique perspective, and a whole lot of passion and drive. And the untapped economic value of Latinas is just what the U.S. economy needs to reboot and recover post-pandemic. The time to take a chance on Latinas is now, and it is long overdue. 

NJEDA Announces launch dates for $85 million Phase 4 of the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program

Phase 4 provides short-term, immediate payroll and working capital support to NJ small and medium businesses and nonprofits

Launch dates for Phase 4 funding

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) announced last week Phase 4 of the Authority’s Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program, adding $85 million in funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Phase 4 will provide short-term operating support to a broad group of New Jersey small and medium sized businesses and nonprofits that have been negatively impacted during the declared state of emergency. More information is available here.

Interested business owners will need to pre-register here to access the application. Pre-registration will begin on Monday, April 19, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. and will close on April 29, 2021 at 5:00 p.m.  The application will be available via a phased approach following the end of the pre-registration period, as detailed below. Applicants must complete the full application to be considered for grant funding.

In line with Governor Murphy’s commitment to a stronger, fairer recovery, Phase 4 funding will be allocated to support the most adversely affected businesses, including restaurants, micro-businesses, and child care providers, as well as other small businesses. To ensure grants reach businesses in the hardest hit communities, including communities of color, one-third of funding will be targeted to businesses with a primary business location within the 715 census tracts designated as eligible to be selected as an Opportunity Zone. 

Phase 4, Small Business Emergency Assistance

newjerseyeda 🚨Reminders as we get set to launch Phase 4 of our Small Biz Emergency Assistance Grant Program: ✅Pre-registration opens tomorrow @ 9am
☑️Pre-registration is NOT first-come, first served ✅You MUST pre-register to apply bit.ly/NJEDA_Phase4 (via IG). 

“The economic impact this pandemic has wreaked in New Jersey is still being felt one year after it started, and it has disproportionally affected woman- and minority-owned businesses. The $85 million in additional funds committed to Phase 4 of the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program will directly and expeditiously help these businesses stabilize their operations and minimize potential furlough or layoffs,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “Businesses that are still struggling cannot wait for assistance and we are working uninterruptedly at the NJEDA to ensure that our communities don’t just survive the pandemic, but emerge from it stronger, fairer, and ready to rebuild.”

The Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program was created to provide funding as efficiently and quickly as possible to small and medium-sized businesses that needed payroll and working capital support as a result of adverse economic impacts following the March 9, 2020 declaration of a State of Emergency and a Public Health Emergency. Since the launch of Phase 1 of the program on April 6, 2020, the Authority has approved nearly 44,000 grant applications representing over $214 million in total grant funding awarded through Phases 1 – 3.  The program has evolved with each phase to offer expanded eligibility and award amounts.

What you can expect from Phase 4

Phase 4 funds aim to reimburse lost revenue as result of the business interruption caused by the pandemic between March 1, 2020 and the date of the grant agreement, providing the necessary resources to any eligible business that has been temporarily shut down, has been required to reduce hours, has had at least a 20 percent drop in revenue, has been materially impacted by employees who cannot work due to the outbreak, or has a supply chain that has materially been disrupted and therefore slowed firm-level production during the pandemic.

Phase 4 once again increases the amount of funding available to businesses. Grant awards will be calculated based on the number of full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) businesses employ. Micro-businesses with five or fewer FTEs and sole proprietorships will receive up to $10,000; businesses with six to 25 FTEs will receive up to $15,000; and businesses with 26 to 50 FTEs will receive up to $20,000. A grant size estimator is available here.

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

To maximize the funding businesses can receive in Phase 4, grant awards will be based on the peak FTE count from a business’s past eight quarters of WR-30 filings. Businesses must use funds from the Grant Program for reimbursement of lost revenue as a result of business interruption caused by the pandemic. Businesses may not use grant funds for capital expenses.

The $85,000,000 in funds available through Phase 4 will be allocated as follows:

  • Restaurants: $35 million of funding to support businesses classified as “Food Services and Drinking Places” under NAICS code 722, given the disproportionate impact these businesses have experienced due to the pandemic, including caps on on-location dining and unusual costs they incurred to adapt their business models for safe operations.
  • Child Care Providers: $10 million of funding to support businesses classified as “Child Day Care Services” under NAICS code 624410, given the disproportionate impact these businesses have experienced due to the pandemic, including caps on capacity numbers and unusual costs they incurred to adapt their business models for safe operations.
  • Micro-businesses: $25 million of funding to support businesses that have had 5 or fewer FTEs in each of their past eight quarters of WR-30 filings (including businesses with no FTEs), given the unique financial vulnerability experienced because of the pandemic by micro-businesses, which typically have lower financial reserves.
  • Other small businesses (6-50 FTE): The remaining $15 million of funding will support businesses that are not eligible under the micro-business category. 

How to Apply 

Applications will become available on a rolling basis following the pre-registration period (April 19, 2021, 9:00 a.m. to April 29, 2021, 5:00 p.m.) Pre-registered applicants will need to return to https://programs.njeda.com/en-US/ to complete an application based on the following schedule:

  • Businesses that did not apply for, or were not approved for Phase 3 funding – 9:00 a.m. on May 3, 2021
  • Restaurants and child care providers – 9:00 a.m. on May 5, 2021
  • Micro businesses (five or fewer FTEs) – 9:00 a.m. on May 10, 2021
  • All other small businesses, excluding restaurants, micro businesses, and child care providers – 9:00 a.m. on May 12, 2021

Applications for each category will be open for a period of one week and will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, based upon the date and time the Authority receives a completed application submission.

The NJEDA is partnering with three leading marketing agencies to coordinate strategic outreach to targeted communities. Tara Dowdell Group, Medina=Citi, and 360 Marketing and PR were selected to support these outreach efforts based on their established connections to diverse communities across the state. All three firms are minority- and/or woman-owned.

The NJEDA is providing the online pre-registration and application in English and Spanish and offering applicants access to interpretation services to support speakers of ten additional languages – Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Gujarati, Hindi, Italian, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, and Tagalog.

In addition to the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program, the NJEDA administers a variety of technical assistance and low-cost financing programs for small and mid-sized businesses impacted by COVID-19. More information about these programs and other State support is available at https://business.nj.gov/covid or call 844-965-1125.

How American Rescue Plan Act will help minority-owned small businesses recover post-COVID

The American Rescue Plan Act will help small businesses recover post-COVID by providing critical assistance to businesses across the country and delivering $50 billion in aid and relief. 

Minority-owned businesses have struggled to get small-business relief loans 

The COVID-19 pandemic brought on great financial difficulties for businesses across the nation. Small businesses were greatly affected, with women- and minority-owned small businesses hit the hardest. 

Photo by Gene Gallin on Unsplash

Since last April, workers of color have faced the highest rates of pandemic-related unemployment. Data shows that Black and Latino people are now facing greater rates of unemployment than during the 2008 Great Recession. Minority-owned small businesses have also faced greater difficulties accessing capital and relief loans. 

The Paycheck Protection Program, which launched in March 2020, has now become the largest small-business support program in U.S. history, sending $734 billion in forgivable loans to struggling companies. It has helped nearly 7 million businesses stay afloat, but it has also been plagued by complex, ever-changing rules that have hindered many businesses from getting much needed relief loans. 

Many of the businesses affected by the changing rules and confusion have been minority-owned businesses. From language barriers to unfair biases, minority business owners have struggled to gain access to capital and bank loans from major banks. Many have since turned to their communities and smaller, local banks to find relief, but new changes to the program under President Biden are now pushing to funnel more money toward women- and minority-led businesses. 

You might be interested: PPP Loan forgiveness: $50,000 loans for small business and self-employed

Changes to PPP and SBA loans under the American Rescue Plan 

New Funding and Changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The bill includes $7.25 billion in additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and changes eligibility for the PPP, including:

  • Expanding eligibility for 501(c) nonprofits. It also makes local offices of larger nonprofits eligible for PPP assistance as long as those locations are not larger than 500 employees for first PPP loans or 300 employees for second PPP loans, expanding access to vital relief for nonprofit organizations that are critical to local services and the economy.
  • 1st PPP Draw loan deadline: on or before 31 May 2021 (businesses must have been in business from 15 Feb 2020)

PPP loans have:

  • A fixed interest rate of 1% that is non-compounding and non-adjustable
  • No requirement for collateral or personal guarantees
  • No fees or prepayment penalties
  • A 5 year maturity

New Programs per the American Rescue Plan Act

Supplemental Targeted EIDL Advance Payment: 

  • A $5 Billion fund for $5k payments to those hardest hit

Restaurant Revitalization Fund & Grants – Coming soon

  • A $28.6 billion fund for grants to eligible entities in this hard-hit industry
  • Max $5 million grant/location and aggregate max $10mil grant

lack of access to capital

How to Apply 

If you have a small business and would like to apply for any of these SBA programs, visit www.sba.gov to learn more about COVID-19 Small Business Guidance and Loan Resources. Under SBA’s Coronavirus Relief Options page, you can learn about how to apply for a variety of programs including: 

  1. Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) 
  2. Economic Interruption Disaster Loan (EIDL) 
  3. SBA Express Bridge Loans 
  4. SBA Debt Relief for 7(a), 504, & Microloans 
  5. Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program

Steps to finding a lender:

Need more help? Check out our other PPP resources