Business

Latest round of PPP loans will help the smallest of businesses

Posted February 22, 2021 5:45 p.m. EST
Updated February 22, 2021 6:11 p.m. EST

— President Joe Biden unveiled new changes to the PayCheck Protection Program on Monday.

  • Starting Wednesday, a two-week application period begins for businesses with fewer than 20 employees.
  • Self-employed and independent contractors can now qualify for more money.
  • And business owners with student loan defaults or non-fraud-related criminal records will now be eligible for loans.

Every penny counts right now for small businesses trying to survive the pandemic. Mom and pop shop owners WRAL spoke with said the first round of PPP didn’t include everyone in the equation. They’re hopeful the new changes will put them back on top.

The theme of this past year has been pivot, adapt and repeat for restaurants and local shops.

“It’s been difficult in terms of we don’t have as many patrons as we would like to have," said Fasil Tesfaye, owner of Goorsha in Durham.

For Bull City Running Company, which was about to open a second location right before the pandemic hit, the PPP loans became critical.

“One of the big frustrations with that first round of PPP is that it seemed like a lot of big businesses got that money upfront. It shut a lot of us out," said Kim Chapman, the owner of Bull City Running Company.

Chapman said the funds she did finally qualify for allowed her to keep employees on payroll and prepare to staff the new location in downtown Durham that was already in the midst of construction.

“For the current administration, to be focusing on true small businesses – I think of 20 people or less, which is exactly Bull City Running – that’s going to give a lot of us a lifeline which we wouldn’t have otherwise," Chapman added.

“Being a new business owner and investing a lot of my own funds, into building a salon, the funds definitely would have helped," said Salicia Nash, owner of Queendom Hair Salon.

The owner of the fairly new hair salon in Cary was disappointed she couldn’t receive PPP the first or second go-around. She’s thrilled the latest update will give priority to independent contractors and self-employed individuals.

“It’s a great feeling, seeing as how it’s been a year, and we’ve kind of been invisible to the PPP loans and everything that’s been going out to other small businesses," she added.

The Biden administration’s program will set aside $1 billion for these businesses. It creates a 14-day window for lenders to focus exclusively on their needs.

“God forbid if anything happens, or if we get shut down again, it will ensure my staff that I have everything covered and that we have the support that we need," said Nash.

The 14-day application period begins Wednesday, February 24th. Visit, https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program to apply.

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