Updated May 1, 2020 11:00 am
As resources become available on a local, state, and federal level, we will update this list. Please check back regularly. We also recommend visiting the Columbia Chamber of Commerce website for additional information that may be helpful to businesses, including HR guidelines and tax relief.
We realize that navigating these options may be difficult so we recommend reaching out to a business counselor. The MO Women’s Business Center and the MU Small Business Development Center (MU SBDC) are two free options we recommend. The MU SBDC is adding additional staff to assist small businesses in the Columbia region and yes, the Women's Business Center will offer counseling to men as well! If you have a local lender, they are also a great resource.
(Reopened!) Spanx Red Backpack fund is a $5 Million fund targeting women entrepreneurs at
Coming May 14: Verizon has donated $2.5 million to the national nonprofit Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). LISC is targeting grants up to $10,000 to entrepreneurs of color and women-owned businesses.- REGISTER HERE: https://www.lisc.org/covid-19/small-business-assistance/small-business-relief-grants/verizon-small-business-recovery-fund/
Hello Alice is offering $10,000 grants to help small business owners. For more information about those grants and other small business resources, https://helloalice.com/resources/funding/hello-alice-covid-19-business-for-all-emergency-grant
Microsoft is providing six months of Office 365 tools for free to enable remote collaboration, file sharing and video conferencing. For more information, https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/2020/03/17/helping-smb-customers-work-remotely-microsoft-teams/
Tory Burch Foundation has a useful list of resources (for both funding and advice) for small businesses that can be found http://www.toryburchfoundation.org/resources/operations/business-resources-covid-19/
U.S. Chamber also has a grant program: https://www.savesmallbusiness.com/
The Food & Beverage Industry Relief Fund, James Beard Foundation https://www.jamesbeard.org/blog/relief-fund
Yelp! is not providing a grant to small business but announced $25 million in relief, primarily focused on independent local restaurants and nightlife businesses, in the form of waived advertising fees…. https://blog.yelp.com/2020/03/yelp-covid-19-response-and-support-for-local-businesses
The National Restaurant Association has created the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund to help restaurant industry employees experiencing extraordinary hardship in the wake of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. Through this Fund, $500 grants will be made to restaurant industry employees who have been impacted by COVID-19, including a decrease in wages or loss of employment. Grants will be awarded as soon as possible to those individuals who meet the prescribed eligibility criteria, as reviewed and verified by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF). This Fund is operated by the NRAEF, whose mission is to attract, empower and advance today’s and tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice workers. Applications are available on: https://rerf.us/
Update! SBA will begin accepting new Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance applications on a limited basis only to provide relief to U.S. agricultural businesses.
The new eligibility is made possible as a result of the latest round of funds appropriated by Congress in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At this time, only agricultural business applications will be accepted due to limitations in funding availability and the unprecedented submission of applications already received. Applicants who have already submitted their applications will continue to be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. For agricultural businesses that submitted an EIDL application through the streamlined application portal prior to the legislative change, SBA will process these applications without the need for re-applying.
Congress recently passed another stimulus bill designed to offer businesses impacted by COVID-19 additional assistance. In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, small business owners in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories are eligible to apply for the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.
More information at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela and a how-to guide for applying is available for download. To determine which option--the EIDL or the PPP (below)--is best for your business, the MOWBC and the MU Small Business Development Center are both offering assistance and advice to businesses interested in these loans.
Questions about the EIDL loan application? Watch this step by step video from the MU SBDC on how easy it is to apply at: https://sbdc.missouri.edu/sbdc-covid-19-resources.
To apply for a COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan, click here.
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) prioritizes millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $349 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses. Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, Veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards.
Under this program:
Updates and Changes!
Keep in mind this is essentially 2 months of grace period for your business. If you are unable to keep your business open and revenues coming in, it may make more sense to lay off employees so they can access the improved unemployment benefits instead. Consider your current circumstances and how resilient your business is and speak with a business counselor or local lender about options.
Click here to learn more. To apply, contact your local bank. Both the Women's Business Center and the Small Business Development Center can point you to an approved lender as well. At the moment, Bank of America, Hawthorn Bank, Central Bank, Bank of Missouri, Simmons Bank, and Callaway Bank are all approved SBA lenders but more may be added so check your local lender first.
The SBA Debt Relief program will provide a reprieve to small businesses who have SBA loans as they overcome the challenges created by this health crisis.
Under this program:
If you have an existing SBA loan, contact your local lender for details.Lost in the sea of acronyms? Check out this handy cheat sheet.
Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 with less paperwork. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing and can be a term loans or used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan. If a small business has an urgent need for cash while waiting for decision and disbursement on Economic Injury Disaster Loan, they may qualify for an SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan.
Find an Express Bridge Loan Lender by connecting with your local SBA District Office.
Closed but anticipating a second round of loans.
In an effort to assist small businesses, the City of Columbia’s Housing Programs Division will be accepting Microenterprise Recovery Loan Program applications beginning Wednesday, April 15. The application period will remain open until the loan funds are exhausted. Forgivable loans of up to $5000 will be provided for approved local microenterprise businesses with five or fewer employees. Qualified businesses must apply for assistance through the City of Columbia's Housing Programs Division. Funds are limited but the City is also reallocating $400,000 for a Small Business Loan Fund so keep an eye out for that. Details and application at https://www.como.gov/community-development/neighborhoods/housingprogramsdivision/microenterprise-recovery-loan-program/.
The Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation donated $5 million to support female entrepreneurs in the wake of COVID-19 and teamed up with GlobalGiving to establish the Red Backpack Fund. GlobalGiving will be overseeing the fund, making 1,000 grants of $5,000 each to female entrepreneurs in the U.S. to help alleviate the immediate needs and support the long-term recovery of those impacted by this crisis. Details and application at https://www.globalgiving.org/redbackpackfund/. They are upgrading the application process so please submit an email for updates.
The MO Department of Labor has created a COVID-19 category for unemployment benefits. Congress authorized a temporary extension of benefits from 26 weeks to 39 weeks in states with a 10% spike in unemployment. They have removed the job search requirement and their website should be updated soon. There is still a waiting period of one week until benefits can be accessed and the state is waiting on guidance from the US Department of Labor on that. Details and application at https://labor.mo.gov/coronavirus.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act which will take effect on approximately April 2 and end on December 31, 2020 includes a refundable payroll tax credit to reimburse businesses for paid sick leave and family and medical leave wages paid to employees that are affected by COVID-19, allowing workers to care for themselves and loved ones impacted. Small and midsize employers can claim two new refundable payroll tax credits to reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing employee leave related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Find details at irs.gov/coronavirus
We recommended reaching our to your bank to discuss options, such as micro-loans or lines of credit. (While you're at it, contacting your landlord for deferred or reduced rent is also a good idea.) Please note that getting a local disaster-related loan may prohibit you from receiving an SBA Disaster Loan so please speak to your bank about details. We are working on other local initiatives so we will keep you posted.
During this challenging time, people are looking for ways to support the businesses that they love in their communities. One way they’re doing so is by purchasing gift cards, so Facebook is helping people easily discover digital gift cards for their local businesses. When you set up a digital gift card with one of their partners, people in your area will be able to discover it right on Facebook. When they click on your gift card, they’ll be able to purchase it online immediately.
If you don't already have a gift card program, Facebook can help you quickly establish and promote a digital gift card program so you can encourage customers to buy now and shop later. Details at https://www.facebook.com/business/boost/gift-cards.
Etsy is increasing offsite advertising by $5 million to promote Etsy products and shops our products on Google, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Bing. They are also introducing a flexible payment plan for sellers. Visit Etsy for details.
Yelp is offering support to restaurants and bars who are currently advertising on Yelp as well as deep discounts for new customers. They are also offering free access to Yelp Reservations and/or Yelp Waitlist the next three months. Visit Yelp for details.
Support Local is an initiative that lets you show your support for your local businesses during this challenging time by purchasing gift cards now to be redeemed later. The platform is built by Gannett, a news media company that includes USA TODAY, but is merely a pass-through to individual business websites. Business can sign up to offer gift cards and customers who still want t0 support local can visit Columbia's page.
The Tribune is creating an interactive map of local businesses to give customers quick click information about changes in hours, special services like delivery, curbside pick up, or even virtual tours - whatever you need them to know. Business owners can access a Google Form to add basic information (business name, phone number, address, website URL, etc.) and what information you want your customers to know right now. That information will be imported into an online map.
State of Missouri has an online resource for individuals that may have lost a job, or looking for new employment. Employers that need to fill positions with qualified workers can also use this site to connect with job seekers. All services are available to job seekers and employers at no cost. Visit jobs.mo.gov for details.
The State of Missouri has relaxed requirements for SNAP/Food Stamps, Medicaid, and Child Care Subsidies. Details at https://governor.mo.gov/press-releases/archive/governor-parson-protects-missouris-most-vulnerable-citizens-and-workers.
Need assistance with prescriptions not covered by insurance? Visit https://familywize.org to download the free prescription discount card.
Heart of Missouri United Way and Community Foundation of Central Missouri have a resource page offering assistance to those who are struggling as a result of COVID-19. If you need assistance finding food, childcare, paying household bills, locating mental health services, or other essential services, visit this www.comohelps.org or dial 211.
The City of Columbia and Boone County are coordinating our community’s mass care and human services response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For up to date information about social service and healthcare resources for residents of Boone County, please visit the Get Help (Covid-19).
Heart of Missouri United Way, City of Columbia, Boone County, and Community Foundation of Central Missouri are also providing emergency funding to support local people who are struggling in the economic fallout from the pandemic. Please visit www.comohelps.org to donate or volunteer.