SBA rolls out $ 100 million grant program to help small businesses recover from COVID fallout



This article was first published in economic journals website.

The Small Business Administration is launching a $ 100 million grant program to connect small businesses using the SBA.

The Community Navigator Pilot Program will provide grants of $ 1-5 million to eligible organizations to provide advice, networking and serve as an informal link to agency resources to help small businesses recover from the economic devastation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. , said the SBA.

“The Community Navigator Pilot Program is a vital addition to our SBA programs as it helps us connect with small businesses that have historically been underserved or left behind. These businesses – the smallest of rural and urban America’s small, and those owned by women, people of color or veterans – have suffered the greatest economic losses from this pandemic, ”the SBA administrator said. Isabella Casillas Guzman in a press release.

Applications must be submitted by July 12 and the program will run for two years, starting September 1, 2021 and ending August 31, 2023. Eligible organizations include state and local governments, economic development organizations, centers of small business development, non-profit colleges and universities, and community development financial institutions, among others.

Interested organizations can go here to learn more about the program and how to apply.

“The SBA understands the importance of partnering with organizations as well as smaller local institutions that are already integrated into the fabric of the Main Street business communities they serve,” said Natalie Madeira Cofield, Deputy Director of the Office of Women’s Business Ownership. Press release. “Community Navigators are the backbone of helping underserved and under-represented communities across the country with recovery.”

The new grant program was approved by Congress earlier in 2021 as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, and comes after criticism that the initial wave of Covid-relief funding for small businesses, provided by the Paycheck Protection Program and others in 2020, went to well-connected businesses better able to access financial services, not those hardest hit by the pandemic.

In 2021, the Biden administration made policy changes and adjustments to various Covid relief programs, including set-aside in the PPP for small, community-based lenders, as well as changes to allow smaller businesses to obtain larger loans under the PPP. program. The Restaurant Revitalization Fund included a 21-day priority window for grants to socially and economically disadvantaged restaurants.

And some avenues of aid for small businesses are fading, with the SBA’s PPP almost strapped for cash, with just $ 2.5 billion to make new loans as of May 21. The program ends with new applications at the end of May.

But overall, it could take years to resolve the agency’s millions of PPP loans. And as new PPP loans wind down, forgiveness continues, with some small businesses already seeing denials – here’s what to do if your PPP loan forgiveness request is denied.

Other SBA programs are still in intense demand, with the agency only being able to fund about half of its Restaurant Revitalization Fund grant applications before exhausting 28.6%. billion dollars allocated to the program, although it still has funds for smaller restaurants. The hospitality industry is pushing for its own version of the restaurant subsidy program, pushing Congress to give $ 20 billion in subsidies to its hardest-hit hotels.

Meanwhile, the SBA’s Shuttered Venue Operators grant program is finally ready to begin notifying its own applicants weeks after the program’s launch.



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