I continue fielding questions from small-business owners who need help and advice during the COVID-19 outbreak. Below is a guide from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development with good information about what’s available at the state and federal levels.
If you have issues with your application, or questions about whether your business is eligible for a program, please contact DEED using the resources available on their website for the fastest and most accurate answers. In addition, programs passed by the federal government may not yet be available — please keep checking the federal program websites for updates.
Here is a rundown:
Small Business Assistance Guide
Over the past few weeks, several state and federal programs have been built to assist small businesses struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Different programs make sense for different businesses, so DEED is providing this summary guide to help small businesses quickly see which programs might be right for their situation.
- SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) – all Minnesota small businesses should apply for these!
- Summary of Program: Low interest, long term Economic Injury Disaster Loans for up to $2 million: The first payment is deferred for 12 months. The application has been simplified and can be completed 100% online through our improved web portal at www.sba.gov/disaster. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75% and the loans can be extended over 30 years.
- SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
- Summary of Program: The SBA PPP is a new federal $350 billion loan program at SBA for small businesses, self-employed people, and gig workers to help them from going under due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If employers maintain payroll, the loans would be forgiven.
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program
- Summary of Program: Congress authorized a new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program that covers those who do not qualify for regular Unemployment Insurance benefits, such as independent contractors and self-employed people. The program was authorized but must be created by the states, so Minnesota must build out this program before it can be implemented. More information will be available soon, however it could be several weeks before payments begin.
- Minnesota Small Business Emergency Loan Program
- Summary of Program: Minnesota Small Business Emergency Loans are made through an approved lender – you can find FAQs, application materials and lenders on the DEED website. These loans are for $2,500 to $35,000 and at a 0% interest rate. There is a total of $30 million available for this program.
- Minnesota Small Business Loan Guarantee Program
- Summary of Program: This program provides a 80% loan guarantee for loans up to $250,000 made by a qualified economic development lender within this program. Details for business are not yet on DEED’s website but DEED and agency partners are reaching out to lenders to make them aware of this new program – look for more details soon. This program is intended to incent the private market to make loans to small businesses and provides the guarantee for those loan dollars. The state is providing a loan guarantee of $10 million which is likely to leverage between $20 and $25 million in lending by private banks.
- Unemployment Insurance Shared Work Program
- Summary of Program: The Shared Work program offers an alternative to layoffs for employers facing a temporary downturn in business. Administered by DEED’s Unemployment Insurance Division, the program allows employers to divide available hours of work among a group of employees instead of implementing a full layoff. These employees may then receive partial unemployment insurance benefits while working reduced hours. The purpose of Shared Work is to avoid a layoff, not to subsidize wages.
For more information on any of these programs, visit the DEED website here.
This outbreak also is coming with great consequences for workers and business owners. If you have issues with your unemployment insurance application, or questions about whether your business is eligible for a program, please contact DEED using the resources available on their website for the fastest and most accurate answers. You can visit this website to learn more about the Unemployment Insurance Program. For questions about whether you qualify for UI, how to apply and the process, please visit here. In addition, programs passed by the federal government may not yet be available — please keep checking the federal program websites for updates.
Look for more news as things develop on this COVID-19 situation. Legislators continue working back in our home districts until further notice, so let me know if there is anything I can do to help.