Financial Help for Small Businesses during the Pandemic
May 13, 2020
Skokie businesses are entitled to financial help during the pandemic, and the information changes quickly. It is difficult to know where to look and what to do first. Here’s a brief summary of where to get started (originally published April 16 and updated July 9.)
The Village of Skokie has a special, frequently updated Resource Page for Businesses affected by COVID-19. This page includes forms and the latest information and links to local, state, and federal programs.
The Village of Skokie supports local businesses offering curbside pickup in front of or in the public right-of-way near their store. Village regulations regarding curbside pickup have been relaxed until further notice. If you are offering curbside pickup or delivery and have not already provided information for the Village's Open for Business page, please email len.becker@Skokie.org.
Small business counselors, funded by the Small Business Administration, are available to help businesses of any size free of charge. Our local North Cook and Lake Counties SCORE chapter created a Coronavirus Resource Hub, where you can sign up for remote mentoring from a SCORE business counselor and for webinars addressing the issues businesses are encountering. Illinois Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) are also available to assist businesses seeking loans, counseling, and preparedness planning. A list of nearby Small Business Development Centers, now operating remotely, can be located here.
Library Business Resources
The library has online tools to help businesses. Find customers and competitors, take online courses to sharpen your skills, create business plans, and keep up with the latest business news. If your business is located in Skokie or is a member of the Skokie Chamber of Commerce you can apply for or renew a business library card online, and use it to access library business resources remotely.
Chamber of Commerce
The Skokie Chamber of Commerce has a list of resources available to all businesses during the pandemic and is providing free business webinars on a wide range of topics to current, past, and prospective members.
Loans and Other Financial Resources
Local, state, and federal resources are available to provide some relief, even to the smallest businesses. Many of these programs are time sensitive, so don’t hesitate to apply.
- The Village of Skokie launched a new financial assistance grant program for small businesses located within Skokie. Owners of Skokie-based small businesses negatively affected by COVID-19 can complete the online Skokie CDBG-CV Small Business Assistance Application or Step One application if they had 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees before March 1, 2020, were In business since at least January 1, 2020, and are not owned by a publicly traded corporation. Priority will be given to small businesses that have not received other federal funding, including PPP, EIDL, or other SBA loans. Grants will provide up to $5,000 of assistance per business. If you have questions, contact Leslie Murphy at 847-933-8446 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Cook County Community Recovery Initiative opened the Cook County Recovery Fund loan application is now closed.
- A Small Business Covid-19 Relief Program is offered through the Illinois Treasurer's Office. It is partnering with approved financial institutions to provide lower-rate loans, or loans to a business or nonprofit that would not otherwise qualify, to Illinois small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Encourage your financial institution to apply to become an approved lender through the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office, if they are not already approved for this program.
- The Small Business Majority, a national nonprofit organization with an Illinois location, has an Illinois Covid-19 resource page. Its Venturize portal can connect small businesses with reputable sources of capital. Venturize also has an Illinois emergency loan resource page.
- The Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund is not accepting applications at this time.
- On June 15, the Small Business Administration announced it is again accepting applications for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) loan and advance program. The CARES Act, passed March 27, declared that Independent contractors, freelancers, and gig workers are eligible to receive a $1,000 grant that does not have to be repaid. Small businesses and agricultural businesses may also apply for the grant, equal to $1,000 per employee of the business up to a maximum of $10,000. This grant, which the SBA refers to as an advance, is designed to provide economic relief to businesses that are experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. This loan advance will not have to be repaid. Recipients do not have to be approved for a loan in order to receive the advance. An SBA loan with favorable terms may also be available. If the loan is received, the advance amount will be deducted from it. EIDL applicants who have already submitted their applications will continue to be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.The loan application can be found here.
- The new Payroll Protection Program Flexibility Act (PPP), passed by Congress June 5, provides small businesses loans that will be fully forgiven when used for payroll costs (including benefits), interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. If you have not yet applied for a PPP loan, the application was revised June 12. The application must be submitted through an approved SBA lender.
- The new Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act should make it easier for small business owners who received a PPP loan to qualify for loan forgiveness. This legislation extends the loan forgiveness period from 8 to 24 weeks, decreases the minimum loan amount that must be spent on payroll from 75% to 60%, extends the deadline to rehire staff from June 30 to December 31, 2020, and extends the loan maturity date from 2 to 5 years for the unforgivable part of new PPP loans. Additional details about the new program can be found in the Small Business Administration revisions document. No collateral or personal guarantees are required. Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees. This program is being administered through local banks. Businesses have 10 months after receiving PPP funds to file for loan forgiveness. PPP loan forgiveness applications must be submitted through your lender. A shorter EZ Forgiveness application is available for self-employed businesses with no employees who meet conditions described in the application instructions.
- Businesses thinking through their reopening process can consult the Center for Disease Control’s Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers Responding to Coronavirus Disease 2019 page for more information.
- As of Monday, May 11, self-employed workers can apply for the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program and unemployment benefits on a new state application portal. Self-employed workers can include sole proprietors who do not pay unemployment contributions and business owners. The process includes several steps. More details and links to apply can be found on the Illinois Department of Employment Security Learn about PUA page.
Learn more about resources for small businesses, nonprofits, and other employers provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress, including the major programs and initiatives administered by the Small Business Administration, and additional tax provisions.