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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 

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

shopping small business

Small Business Saturday a day to support your local Latino small businesses

Despite the disadvantages Latino small businesses face, they have outstripped small business growth’s national rates. However, they encounter barriers that other small business owners and entrepreneurs might find easy to overcome. Frequently, financial education and language barriers drag down Latino small businesses compared to other demographics. Still, “when there’s a will there’s a way,” and nobody believes this truth more than a Latino small business owner.

shopping small business

Despite the disadvantages Hispanic businesses face, they have outstripped small business growth’s national rates. However, they encounter barriers that other small business owners and entrepreneurs might find easy to overcome. Those barriers are related to low levels of education and literacy, especially in the financial literacy arena, lack of English language skills, and difficulties in navigating the financial system in the United States.

When I arrived in this country in 1990, I realized that this society was based on the power of literacy and the written language, a great disadvantage for a number of immigrants who come from countries where literacy is a luxury, or from areas where large indigenous populations speak native languages, many of which do not have a written format. They come from societies based on verbal or oral communication and solidarity networks. It is still a common practice for small businesses to keep their finances in a pen and paper fashion.

Participants at 2016 Internet Marketing Week SBDCNJ - Rutgerts School of Business NJ

Several business courses are offered through SBDC around the country. Here: Sunny Kancherla, Director, NJSBDC E-Business Division at Participants at 2016 Internet Marketing Week SBDCNJ – Rutgers School of Business NJ

Americans are used to a highly functional literate society based on written communication in almost every aspect of their lives: school, media, business, banking, you name it. The rise and imperative use of technology leave many behind. Digital dexterity and knowledge are mandatory in any business environment wanting to compete in the real world.

Most foreign degrees are usually assessed by independent evaluators or academic institutions without certain equivalence. For instance, a six-year professional degree in an area of expertise, common in many Latin American universities, might be compared to an undergraduate degree in the United States.

Professional and entrepreneurial immigrants might have some advantages over their counterpart immigrant workers but only if they master the English language. Even so, they encounter difficulties in starting a new business until they get some degree of acculturation and understanding of the system’s mechanisms.

Being there, doing that

Carlos Quintana, a California community organizer that leads an organization called “Manos Unidos” –yes, this is not a typo- says he works with people from Mexico, Argentina, Peru and other countries who often are wary of applying for a grant, joining a chamber of commerce or volunteering for a city advisory commission because they have experience with corrupt agencies in their native countries.

Many, Quintana says, have the drive to start businesses but don’t understand the rules about taxes, accounting, and payroll. Also, he mentions the digital divide; Latinos are not using computers, which are a primary source of information. His organization, like many others throughout the country, can help them figure out planning and licensing requirements and can connect them with Spanish-speaking accountants and tax preparers.

However, the language divide is still a concern for many Latino business owners who would like to grow their businesses and find out about opportunities in state, federal or the private sector. The tricky part is to find a program designed for learning enough specific English business vocabulary to get by at a reasonable cost.  Specialized packages can go from $1500 and up, just to start. Some universities do offer continuing education short programs such as University of South Florida or Columbia University summer courses. However, these classes are too expensive and more suitable for corporate employees or international business students.

Latino small businesses

CHELSEA, MA – JULY 23: Adult education students listen at Centro Latino in Chelsea, a suburb where the Latino population has boomed. (Photo by David L Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Additional barriers in financial literacy and best practices

A report from the Ninth Federal Reserve District, which includes Minnesota, Montana, North and South Dakota, 26 counties in northwestern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, states that although they have seen an impressive growth in their Latino small businesses –among the six states in the Ninth Federal Reserve District, Minnesota had the highest percentage increase in revenues for Hispanic businesses, at 248 percent for the period 2002–2007–, they still lag behind national levels.

“The low average for gross receipts may be partly due to the average size of Hispanic-owned businesses. Many of them are microenterprises, or establishments with zero to just a few paid employees. But there are other factors besides size that keep Hispanic-owned businesses from reaching their potential.” Among others, the report mentioned causes such as having a fear of government and established institutions, a limited understanding of American business processes, and encountering a lack of culturally friendly or linguistically appropriate services at local institutions.

Likewise, they have detected “difficulties understanding and communicating with the state and city structures necessary for opening a business. Examples include the need for a federal and state tax ID, registration forms, and property taxes. Also, many Latino entrepreneurs have limited experience with effective business sustainability practices. Limited knowledge in fields like accounting, commercial bank accounts and credit history poses a major roadblock for businesses that would otherwise be of great contribution to Minnesota’s general economy.”

Unfortunately, I have not found many options other than maybe small initiatives at local community level dealing with these barriers, and I would love to hear from more of them. Latinos are very entrepreneurial; the wealth and employment potential they can bring to their communities should not be underestimated. Moreover, they should be taken as an unbeaten role model to be successful against all odds.

How most and least diverse cities in the US affect minority-owned businesses

A study conducted by WalletHub found out that minority-owned businesses thrive in ethnically diverse cities. Population trends predict that by 2044 minority populations will rise to 56 percent so that no single ethnic group will constitute as the majority in the country. This is a relevant and important trend given the current political climate and immigration issues.

Exhibitors at the 2014 First Health and Wellness Fair. minority-owned businesses

Exhibitors at the 2014 SHCCNJ First Health and Wellness Fair

Diversity fosters growth and enriches our environments– from exposure to different cultures and languages to economic benefits for businesses. A study conducted by WalletHub compared 500 U.S. cities across three key metrics, including ethnoracial diversity, linguistic diversity and birthplace diversity.

minority-owned businesses

Jill Gonzalez WalletHub Analyst

The study found that the most culturally diverse city in the US is Jersey City, New Jersey, while Oakland, California has the highest ethnic and racial diversity– four times higher than Hialeah, Florida, the city with the lowest. Furthermore, Hialeah, Florida has the highest concentration of Latinos and Hispanics at 96.26 percent.

Ethnically diverse cities help diverse businesses thrive. One of the main benefits of living in an ethnically diverse city is innovation. An innovative environment fosters growth and allows for creation of businesses and job opportunities. 

“Diverse cities tend to be economically strong,” said WalletHub Analyst, Jill Gonzalez. “Small businesses can thrive in diverse cities, as these are melting pots of innovative ideas that help these businesses to improve, develop new technologies and hire skilled workers.”

Gonzalez also added that minority-owned businesses can find support at the state and federal level. “Most of the states implement their own programs that promote or help diverse business,” she said. “At the federal level, the Minority Business Development Agency works to create policies and programs that result in the growth of minority-owned businesses by facilitating services that provide access to financing and contracts.”

minority-owned businesses

Mary Kay consultants at the 2017 Latina SmallBiz Expo

The main challenge of living in an ethnically diverse city, according to Gonzalez, is creating and maintaining a safe, inclusive environment. With various different ethnic and racial groups, conflicts may arise and newer groups might feel excluded by the existing local community. Established groups may also feel threatened by the economic and social impact of newer groups. Communities can minimize these challenges by focusing on inclusion, tolerance, and teamwork.

You might be interested: 50 Top U.S. corporations giving opportunities to minority small businesses

Overall, “the benefits far outweigh the challenges,” Gonzalez said. Diverse cities are full of potential and opportunities, especially for minority-owned businesses. Innovation and inclusion are the two keys to a successful, diverse environment.

shopping small business

Small Business Saturday: Against the odds, Latino small businesses thrive

Financial education and language barriers drag down Latino small businesses compared to other demographics. Still, “when there’s a will there’s a way,” and nobody believes this truth more than a Latino small business owner.

shopping small business

Despite the disadvantages Hispanic businesses face, they have outstripped small business growth’s national rates. However, they encounter barriers that other small business owners and entrepreneurs might find easy to overcome. Those barriers are related to low levels of education and literacy, especially in the financial literacy arena, lack of English language skills, and difficulties in navigating the financial system in the United States.

When I arrived in this country in 1990, I realized that this society was based on the power of literacy and the written language, a great disadvantage for a number of immigrants who come from countries where literacy is a luxury, or from areas where large indigenous populations speak native languages, many of which do not have a written format. They come from societies based on verbal or oral communication and solidarity networks. It is still a common practice for small businesses to keep their finances in a pen and paper fashion.

Participants at 2016 Internet Marketing Week SBDCNJ - Rutgerts School of Business NJ

Several business courses are offered through SBDC around the country. Here: Sunny Kancherla, Director, NJSBDC E-Business Division at Participants at 2016 Internet Marketing Week SBDCNJ – Rutgers School of Business NJ

Americans are used to a highly functional literate society based on written communication in almost every aspect of their lives: school, media, business, banking, you name it. The rise and imperative use of technology leave many behind. Digital dexterity and knowledge are mandatory in any business environment wanting to compete in the real world.

Most foreign degrees are usually assessed by independent evaluators or academic institutions without certain equivalence. For instance, a six-year professional degree in an area of expertise, common in many Latin American universities, might be compared to an undergraduate degree in the United States.

Professional and entrepreneurial immigrants might have some advantages over their counterpart immigrant workers but only if they master the English language. Even so, they encounter difficulties in starting a new business until they get some degree of acculturation and understanding of the system’s mechanisms.

Being there, doing that

Carlos Quintana, a California community organizer that leads an organization called “Manos Unidos” –yes, this is not a typo- says he works with people from Mexico, Argentina, Peru and other countries who often are wary of applying for a grant, joining a chamber of commerce or volunteering for a city advisory commission because they have experience with corrupt agencies in their native countries.

Many, Quintana says, have the drive to start businesses but don’t understand the rules about taxes, accounting, and payroll. Also, he mentions the digital divide; Latinos are not using computers, which are a primary source of information. His organization, like many others throughout the country, can help them figure out planning and licensing requirements and can connect them with Spanish-speaking accountants and tax preparers.

However, the language divide is still a concern for many Latino business owners who would like to grow their businesses and find out about opportunities in state, federal or the private sector. The tricky part is to find a program designed for learning enough specific English business vocabulary to get by at a reasonable cost.  Specialized packages can go from $1500 and up, just to start. Some universities do offer continuing education short programs such as University of South Florida or Columbia University summer courses. However, these classes are too expensive and more suitable for corporate employees or international business students.

Latino small businesses

CHELSEA, MA – JULY 23: Adult education students listen at Centro Latino in Chelsea, a suburb where the Latino population has boomed. (Photo by David L Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Additional barriers in financial literacy and best practices

A report from the Ninth Federal Reserve District, which includes Minnesota, Montana, North and South Dakota, 26 counties in northwestern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, states that although they have seen an impressive growth in their Latino small businesses –among the six states in the Ninth Federal Reserve District, Minnesota had the highest percentage increase in revenues for Hispanic businesses, at 248 percent for the period 2002–2007–, they still lag behind national levels.

“The low average for gross receipts may be partly due to the average size of Hispanic-owned businesses. Many of them are microenterprises, or establishments with zero to just a few paid employees. But there are other factors besides size that keep Hispanic-owned businesses from reaching their potential.” Among others, the report mentioned causes such as having a fear of government and established institutions, a limited understanding of American business processes, and encountering a lack of culturally friendly or linguistically appropriate services at local institutions.

Likewise, they have detected “difficulties understanding and communicating with the state and city structures necessary for opening a business. Examples include the need for a federal and state tax ID, registration forms, and property taxes. Also, many Latino entrepreneurs have limited experience with effective business sustainability practices. Limited knowledge in fields like accounting, commercial bank accounts and credit history poses a major roadblock for businesses that would otherwise be of great contribution to Minnesota’s general economy.”

Unfortunately, I have not found many options other than maybe small initiatives at local community level dealing with these barriers, and I would love to hear from more of them. Latinos are very entrepreneurial; the wealth and employment potential they can bring to their communities should not be underestimated. Moreover, they should be taken as an unbeaten role model to be successful against all odds.