Small Business Assistance During COVID-19: Part II
In Part I of this blog series we explored the CARES Act and the funding programs within it. These federal assistance programs have helped millions of small businesses and it’s not too late to apply. But, there are also a growing number of opportunities for education, local aid and private grants that should not be ignored.
Finding Local Assistance
The SBA has 68 District Offices across the country that have been fully operational since the start of COVID-19. They often work with local partners that are trained to counsel and educate small businesses and can help you understand the financial assistance and resources available to you on both a federal and local level. For help locating the office nearest you visit SBA’s Local Assistance Directory.
Your local chamber of commerce can also be a wealth of knowledge. Give them a call and ask for their advice! They have likely been monitoring local assistance opportunities and will have information specific to your business. We also encourage you to check out The U.S. Chamber of Commerce. They have many educational resources and offer workshops, town halls and more to help provide guidance on different types of assistance.
Identifying Local Financial Relief
Financial assistance on the local level will be specific to your community. To get started, there are many resources that provide opportunities broken down by state, city and county.
Zenefits is a regularly updated with available relief from both private and government sources. They have taken information from each state and complied it into one giant resource – for free!
GrantSpace.org is another resource that is updated frequently with opportunities for government and private on both a national and local level. There are many organizations creating and contributing to various grant programs, and we recommend routinely checking for updates to ensure you stay up to date on what is available for your business.
Exploring Private Grants
If you are waiting on approval from any of the CARES Act programs or need to supplement your current assistance, explore private grant opportunities. Grants are a great option because, unlike a loan, they don’t have to be repaid. There are grant opportunities specific to the pandemic and others routinely offered to help small businesses thrive. We encourage you to explore all options but here are two timely opportunities that you can apply for now.
FedEx #SupportSmall Grant is providing $1 million to help small businesses. Applications became available on May 25th and the deadline to apply is June 12th. Each grant recipient will receive $5,000 and a $500 credit from FedEx Office that can be used for printing banners, posters, floor graphics, custom branded boxes and more.
Nav's Small Business Grant Contest is held each season to help small businesses take their business to the next level. In the application process you’ll need to write or talk about your business and a challenge you’ve overcome or continue to struggle with. It’s not specific to the pandemic but the application topic is timely. The winner receives $10,000. The deadline to apply is May 30th.
The support for small businesses extends past federal funding and we hope this blog post inspires you to research additional opportunities available to your business.