It’s been a challenging year for small business owners everywhere. The impact of COVID-19 on small businesses and their employees has been significant and ongoing. 2020 has seen many companies limiting their operations after being hit with reduced customer demand and soaring operational costs.
Now more than ever, small businesses and their owners need useful and reliable financial resources to keep themselves and their enterprises afloat.
Here are our favorite financial resources to aid your small business wherever it most needs support. The help you need is at hand!
Hello Alice is a free to use, multi-channel financial platform that provides small businesses with all the resources they need to grow. In 2020, the company established the All Emergency Grant, which offers $10,000 grants to small businesses and entrepreneurs affected by the pandemic.
The platform offers a version of its COVID-19 Business Resource Center page in Spanish and donates a portion of its grant funds to Hispanic SME owners as part of its social responsibility strategy.
Facebook’s Business Resource Hub
Facebook already offers plenty of tools for small businesses, including:
- Free business pages
- Messaging functions
- Personalized marketing plans
- live video streaming
- A specialized skills and training portal
The company has developed a free Business Resource Hub to provide support to small businesses and their owners. The hub offers financial resources, tips on navigating the coronavirus crisis, and other helpful commercial tools. The social media giant is also offering $100 million in ad credits and cash grants to up to 30,000 small businesses who it deems eligible for assistance.
The CARES Act
The CARES Act, or Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, offers $376 billion in financial resources for US-based small businesses and workers. It houses numerous temporary programs to address challenges caused by the outbreak, including bridge loans, and economic injury disaster loans.
Yelp is also doing its part to offer financial resources for SME owners during these challenging times. The platform has created a $25 million relief fund to provide financial assistance to independently owned nightlife and restaurant businesses.
The company has waived its advertising fees, allowing its listed businesses to market their products, services and locations for free.
The Small Business Relief Initiative
Several well-known companies have joined forces to establish the Small Business Relief Initiative. GoFundMe teamed up with three other brands to provide small business owners with the financial resources and support they need to continue operating during and after the pandemic.
Each of the companies involved has donated $500,000 to seed the fund. The money is being used to provide grants to small businesses across the United States, starting with those based in the country’s hardest hit areas. The fund is also issuing $500 matching grants to all qualifying businesses that raise at least $500 through GoFundMe.
The Shared Work Unemployment Compensation Program
This program allows employers to split their available work hours among a specific group of affected staff members instead of laying them off entirely. This allows employees to claim a share of their Unemployment Insurance benefits, while still working reduced hours.
Any Shared Work Plan that’s approved by the program is valid for a full year, and it could grant employees up to 26 weeks’ worth of Shared Work benefits. Employers who are eligible for the fund will need to guarantee that the reduction in hours will replace layoffs, which would have created a reduction of at least the same number of working hours.
The Rapid Response Program
Rapid Response aims to meet up with business owners at their sites of operation. They assist owners in brewing up strategies to avoid lay-offs and also provide additional training for employees to improve businesses’ profitability and market competitiveness.
The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
The SBA is currently offering low-interest federal disaster loans to small businesses and NPOs that meet its criteria. Business owners can learn about their eligibility and how they can apply by emailing DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov.
Small businesses who are deemed eligible may be granted loans of up to $2 million, which can be used to pay debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other essential expenses. SMEs without other credit options will receive a favorable 3.75% interest rate, while the interest rate for non-profits is set at 2.75%. The loans include payment plans that span up to 30 years to ensure affordability for companies struggling to stay afloat.
The popular mobile carrier has promised not to terminate the services of any wireless, broadband or home phone small business customers who cannot pay their bills due to the pandemic. The company has been waiving late payments incurred because of financial difficulties, and pledges to keep their public Wi-Fi hotspots running for all Americans who need to use them. These hotspots can be incredibly valuable to entrepreneurs or start-ups who need to access free online tools but are concerned about broadband costs.
The US Government’s Access Financing Tool
If you’re still on the hunt for funding, you can use this free tool from Business USA to help you find it. All you need to do is answer a few short questions, including the type of financial assistance you need and the kind of business you’re operating. From there, you will be presented with a range of government grants and loans that you can apply for directly on the site.
Saving Plans for Small Businesses
This short course offered by the SBA takes just 30 minutes to complete and is completely free. The training course provides overviews of savings plans and strategies, including long-term plans, retirement planning, tax breaks, and much more. It offers essential information that will assist any new small business owner in navigating their market more effectively.
Even in the pandemic’s wake there are ways to give your small business a helping hand. These financial resources are not all the options available, but they are an excellent starting point for any company who needs assistance to stay afloat or grow.
Author Bio: Jill Goodwin is a content champion for a variety of online publications. She often covers topics that care to business owners and entrepreneurs with a strong focus on finances, productivity, management, and a few other topics.