COVID-19 Business Resources
- Federal Small Business Assistance
- Private Business Assistance and Grants
- Texas Workforce Commission Resources
- SPARK Small Business Center Counseling
Federal Small Business Assistance Programs
The recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides relief for small businesses that are experiencing trouble covering payroll and operating expenses because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new law creates a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan program, called the “Paycheck Protection Program”, that expands benefits and eligibility for SBA disaster loans, covers payments on existing SBA loans, and provides loan forgiveness options.
- The Paycheck Protection Program aims to help employers retain employees during this emergency. This program provides loans to small businesses, self-employed, and sole proprietors and non-profits to cover 2.5 months of salary and benefits for employees.
- You can apply for the program at any lending institution that is approved to participate in the program through the existing U.S. Small Business Administration 7(a) lending program. There are hundreds of banks that already participate in SBA lending, including many national and regional banks. Please check with your existing bank or one of the many in New Braunfels.
- For more information on this program, please click here.
- The EIDL program provides low interest federal disaster loans intended to provide working capital to small businesses impacted by disasters such as the Covid-19 crisis.
- EIDLs may be used to pay for expenses that could have been met had the disaster not happened, including payroll and other operating expenses.
- EIDL Applicant Advance (Grant) The CARES Act also permits applicants to request an advance of up to $10,000 to pay allowable working capital needs. This advance is essentially a grant and is not required to be repaid, even if the application is denied, but the amount of the advance must be deducted from any loan forgiveness amounts under a PPP loan, described above.
- For more information or to apply for the loan, please click here.
These loans allow small business who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 with less paperwork. These loans can be used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct EIDL described above. If a small business has an urgent need for cash while waiting for decision and disbursement on Economic Injury Disaster Loan, they may qualify for an SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan.
Existing SBA Borrower Debt Relief
he SBA Debt Relief program will provide a reprieve to small businesses as they overcome the challenges created by this health crisis.
Under this program:
- The SBA will also pay the principal and interest of new 7(a) loans issued prior to September 27, 2020.
- The SBA will pay the principal and interest of current 7(a) loans for a period of six months.
For helpful information on gathering documents needed to apply for SBA assistance, please click here.
Private Business Grant and Assistance Programs
In addition to federal government relief programs offered through the Small Business Administration, several private companies and institutions are offering assistance to small businesses.
Facebook for Business is working on a $100M cash grant program with ad credits for small businesses. More info to come and can be found by clicking here.
Patronicity is providing resources to businesses interested in crowdfunding during the Covid-19 crisis, including no fees or cost to start a campaign. More information can be found by clicking here.
Kiva, the popular small business, crowdsourcing investment company is offering 0% loans up to $15,000 with no payments for six months. More info can be found by clicking here.
The tech company MainVest that offers crowdsourced investing in return for profit sharing is offering a zero-interest, 120 day $2,000 loan if you have an existing “brick & mortar” business that has been negatively effected but the COVOID-19 outbreak. For more information, please click here.
Food & Beverage Industry Assistance
The James Beard Foundation
The James Beard Foundation has created the Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund and is currently working on application criteria. Sign up for updates and notifications of when the application period opens by clicking here.
The Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation
The Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation is raising money for the Restaurant Workers COVID19 Relief Fund. The fund will be allocated as grants for direct relief to restaurant workers, grants to non-profit organizations serving restaurant workers and no interest loan for restaurants. For more information, please click here.
The payment processor Square is refunding all software subscription fees for the month of March for existing sellers who currently use Square Appointments, Retail, Restaurants, Loyalty, Team Management, Payroll, Marketing, and Square Online Store. Square will manage the process for you—there’s no need to do anything.
Additional product updates are also in the works. You can use the just released curbside pickup option through Square Online Store, and they plan to release a local delivery feature this week. Curbside pickup and delivery fees are waived for the next three months. For more information, please visit their website by clicking clicking here.
Square has also launched a local business directory, giveandgetlocal.com, to make it easier for customers to find and support Square businesses in their community. Customers can buy digital gift cards from businesses that have set up eGift Cards, and also search for businesses that offer pickup and delivery through Square Online Store.
Online review site Yelp, announced a $25 million in relief, primarily focused on supporting independent local restaurant and nightlife businesses, in the form of waived advertising fees, and free advertising, products and services, during this period. As part of this relief effort, restaurants and nightlife businesses that remain open will receive free access to Yelp page upgrades, including Business Highlights and Call To Action, as well as Connect, which will help them communicate timely information to their customers. Restaurants will also receive three months of free access to Yelp Reservations and Waitlist. For restaurant clients that offer delivery and/or takeout, Yelp will provide $100 in free search advertising. Please click here for more information.
Unemployment Benefits - Texas Workforce Commission
The Texas Workforce Commission is the state entity responsible for administering unemployment benefits, in addition to other services for employers and job seekers, to those individuals that have lost employment. The agency is currently experiencing a high volume of users. If you experience difficulty accessing their website or on the phone, please keep trying.
What steps should someone take if they’ve recently lost their job?
An individual may apply for benefits or check the status of their existing claim online at ui.texasworkforce.org any time 24/7 which will allow us to more quickly handle their claim needs. If they do not have internet access, they may call 1-800-939-6631 M-F 8 am to 6 pm CST and Saturday 8 am to 5 pm CST.
How much of one’s income is usually covered?
You can estimate your potential benefit amount on the Texas Workforce Commission website. The answer to this question will vary from person to person.
Unemployment Benefits Estimator: https://apps.twc.state.tx.us/UBS/changeLocale.do?language=en&country=US&page=/benefitsEstimator.do
Can people apply online or on the phone?
Unemployment insurance claims in Texas have not changed. An individual may apply for benefits or check the status of their existing claim online at ui.texasworkforce.org any time 24/7 which will allow us to more quickly handle their claim needs. If they do not have internet access, they may call 1-800-939-6631 M-F 8 am to 6 pm CST and Saturday 8 am to 5 pm CST.
Texas Workforce Commission Unemployment Benefits: ui.texasworkforce.org
What types of information will I need to provide to apply?
Workers seeking to apply for unemployment benefits will need the following:
- Last employer’s business name and address
- First and last dates (month, day and year) you worked for your last employer
- Number of hours worked and pay rate if you worked this week (including Sunday)
- Information related to your normal wage
- Alien Registration Number (if not a U.S. citizen or national)
For more information on how to apply for unemployment benefits online, please click here.
Mass Claims Program
If you have to close your business either temporarily or permanently and need to lay off employees, you may be able to submit a mass claim for unemployment benefits on their behalf. For more information on the Mass Claims Program, please click here.
If your business has slowed down due to the pandemic and you need to reduce employee working hours, you may be able to avoid laying off employees by submitting a shared work plan. The Shared Work program provides Texas employers with an alternative to layoffs. This voluntary program helps Texas employers and employees withstand a slowdown in business. For more information, please click here.
The New Braunfels SPARK Small Business Center offers free business counseling to New Braunfels small businesses. The Center, located downtown at 940 W. San Antonio Street, is staffed with a team of professional business mentors and counselors whose mission is to a help grow the economies in Comal and Guadalupe counties by helping local entrepreneurs create business success through education, mentorship, business training and networking.
Counselors can assist in the development of business plans, loan applications, marketing assistance, and much more.
To schedule an appointment for free business counseling, please click here.