You can listen to the recorded version of the discussion that we wish to share for anyone who may have missed part of it.
“Small businesses are key to our local and state economy,” said Thomas Stith, district director of the U.S. Small Business Administration. “We have more than 900,000 small businesses in North Carolina who employ more than 1.7 million people. The SBA is standing prepared to work with small businesses throughout this state as we go through this tremendous crisis.”
Those words from Stith come at a time when many small businesses are asking the SBA and the federal government for help. Stith shared those thoughts at the beginning of his talk during a virtual town hall, organized by the Raleigh Chamber, with Rep. David Price, NC – 4th Congressional District. Both shared their insight for small business owners. Six hundred participants joined them on the call.
Price echoed those thoughts about small businesses and the important role they play. He also thanked everyone whose work is keeping the country going at this time.
“The federal response to this, so far, has come in three pieces of legislation,” said Price. “In the end, we came together on a bipartisan basis. My role is to summarize the legislation.”
The town hall discussion focused on the third piece of legislation, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which created a $349 billion loan package that is designed to help small businesses while encouraging them to avoid layoffs.
Much of the discussion focused on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which started the same day as the call, as well as the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program.
On the Paycheck Protection Program, Price said, “The idea is to keep businesses in business and keep their payrolls intact. This is the way a lot of people will be able to see their way through this.”
“The Economic Injury Disaster Loan is one key initiative, as is today’s launch of PPP,” said Stith. “Small businesses in every county in North Carolina can apply for an EIDL of up to $2 million.”
Our blog, SBA Disaster Assistance Loans Available to NC Small Businesses, highlights the key points of the EIDL program, the potential benefits to small businesses, and the application process.
“The PPP is designed to keep businesses going,” said Stith.
Some of the important aspects of the Payroll Protection Program include:
- The loan proceeds cover payroll costs, and most mortgage interest, rent, and utility costs over the eight-week period after the loan is made
- Employee and compensation levels are maintained
- Loan payments are deferred for six months
- It is open April 3 to small businesses and sole proprietorships through existing SBA lenders
- Starting April 10, independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply for and receive loans to cover payroll and certain other expenses through existing SBA lenders
- Businesses or nonprofits must have 500 employees or fewer to apply
To learn more about the PPP or to find an eligible lender, please visit the SBA’s web page dedicated to the Paycheck Protection Program.
He recognized that there will be a “significant response” to the PPP and many applications are expected.
“We feel confident that we have adequate resources to address the applications,” said Stith. “But, we will monitor how things move forward.”
Price responded to a question about what to expect next in Washington.
“I foresee a continuing need to respond to this crisis,” he said. “There will be gaps and other things that we will need to deal with in a broader bill. We’ll also need to focus on economic recovery. This is going to have a huge economic impact and getting out of it is something that we will have to face together.”
For more information or assistance, please call the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800.659.2955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may call 800.877.8339.
You also can visit our Response Raleigh Chamber page for additional resources and guidance for businesses responding to the effects of the pandemic.