SEN. UTKE: Programs for small businesses

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State Sen. Paul Utke (R-Park Rapids)

Over the past few weeks, several state and federal programs have been built to assist small businesses struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Different programs make sense for different businesses, so I’m providing this summary guide to help small businesses quickly see which programs might be right for their situation.

Federal Paycheck Protection Program

A U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan program that helps businesses keep their workforce employed during the COVID-19 crisis began April 3.

The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. The SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest or utilities.

The Paycheck Protection Program will be available through June 30.


This program is for any small business with less than 500 employees (including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed persons), private non-profit organization or 501(c)(19) veterans organizations affected by coronavirus/COVID-19.

Businesses in certain industries may have more than 500 employees if they meet the SBA’s size standards for those industries.

Small businesses in the hospitality and food industry with more than one location could also be eligible if their individual locations employ less than 500 workers.

As small businesses prepare to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program, the Minnesota Bankers Association wanted to send out some additional information at .

The loan will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities (due to likely high subscription, at least 75 percent of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll). Loan payments will also be deferred for six months. No collateral or personal guarantees are required. Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees.

Forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels. Forgiveness will be reduced if full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease.

This loan has a maturity of two years and an interest rate of 1 percent.

If you wish to begin preparing your application, you can download a copy of the PPP borrower application form ( ) to see the information that will be requested from you when you apply with a lender.


Other assistance

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, small business owners in all U.S. states, Washington D.C. and territories are currently eligible to apply for disaster assistance.

Enhanced Debt Relief is also available in SBA’s other business loan programs to help small businesses overcome the challenges created by this health crisis.

For information on additional lending options, visit . SBA provides local assistance via 68 district offices and a nationwide network of resource partners.

Federal Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program

To apply for a COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan, visit .

Small business owners are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000. The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing, providing economic relief to businesses.

This loan advance will not have to be repaid. Economic Injury Disaster Loans are also available to residents in declared disaster areas. View the full list of disaster declarations: .

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