What to do if you’re a small business owner during COVID-19

BY ZACHARY HORNER, News + Record Staff
Posted 4/3/20

Being a small business owner is a challenge unto itself.

The Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy’s 2018 Frequently Asked Questions document stated that around 80 percent of …

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What to do if you’re a small business owner during COVID-19

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Posted

Being a small business owner is a challenge unto itself.

The Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy’s 2018 Frequently Asked Questions document stated that around 80 percent of small businesses survive their first year — meaning 20 percent don’t. Additionally, only about half survive past five years, and one in three get to 10 years.

We don’t yet know the full impact that COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, and the enusing restrictions on social proximity and business operations will have on the economy in Chatham County and beyond. But we do know a number of government-relate organizations working to offer some help, both financial and practical, to small businesses who are wrestling with the pandemic.

Here’s a list:

Small Business Administration

The SBA is a federal agency, headed by a Cabinet member, “fully dedicated to small business and providing counseling, capital and contracting expertise as the nation’s only go-to resource and voice for small businesses,” according to the agency’s website.

The SBA’s primary tool of aid during COVID-19 is the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Advance Loan. Available for up to $10,00, the program is designed “to provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue,” the SBA says. Funds are available within three days of a successful application, and the loan will not need to be repaid.

To learn more information and apply, visit covid19relief.sba.gov.

NC Rapid Recovery

Headed by the Golden LEAF Foundation and supported by several entities including the NC Rural Center and Carolina Small Business Development Fund, the NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Lending Program is offering loans up to $50,000 to businesses that meet certain criteria.

“The North Carolina COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Lending program supports North Carolina small businesses and family farms as they recover from the economic impact of COVID-19,” the program’s website states. “This rapid recovery loan helps small businesses bridge the gap between when crisis strikes and when federal loans, insurance payouts and other relief funds are approved, or businesses have time to recover.”

The website also states that the loans are “not designed to be a singular source of assistance,” but must be repaid. Recipients are not required to make payments and no interest is accrued over the first six months, followed by 48 months of principal and 5.5 percent interest payments.

For more information, visit the website at ncrapidrecovery.org.

Chatham Economic Development Corporation

The Chatham EDC is not currently a source of loans or funds, but has made itself available as a resource to assistance during the pandemic.

A page on the organization’s website says it is working with the Chatham Chamber of Commerce and Chamber for a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro to “compil(e) resources and advice for businesses amid the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.” The page has links to both the SBA and Rapid Recovery program websites and suggestions for operational changes.

“Cross-train employees for key functions so that daily schedules can continue relatively uninterrupted by potential employee absences,” one piece of advice reads. “Where relevant, consider staggering start and end times to reduce large numbers of people coming together at the same time; and create and test remote employee collaboration systems.”

The EDC also encourages measures of self-care during the pandemic: “Eat well, sleep and exercise. Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face, or anyone else.”

For more information, head to that page at chathamedc.org/news/covid19.

Reporter Zachary Horner can be reached at zhorner@chathamnr.com or on Twitter at @ZachHornerCNR.

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