Assistance for Businesses Hit by the Coronavirus Crisis


Assistance for Businesses Hit by the Coronavirus Crisis

March 17, 2020 | Education

Lots of us are feeling anxious and exhausted in the wake of COVID-19, worrying about our loved ones and communities, and drastically pivoting our lifestyles to keep each other safe.

We’re incredibly sad that the women in this community might also be making some painful choices regarding their businesses, and we want to do all we can to support you.

We’re compiling a list of resources that could help to bridge the gaps you might be facing in trade and will continue to add more as they are announced.

Please also feel free to let us know what else you need from us. A virtual hangout space? More of a focus on our mentorship app and program? Advice on a specific topic? You can reach us on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.

Know of any great grants or opportunities we’ve missed? Let us know so that we can keep this list up to date.

The Small Business Administration (SBA)

Disaster Assistance Loans
The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loans are the first line of support.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is providing low-interest working capital loans of up to $2 million to small businesses and nonprofits affected by the coronavirus. These loans carry an interest rate of 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for nonprofits. Loan repayment terms vary by applicant, up to a maximum of 30 years, and you start paying one year after the promissory note. You can use the loan to cover debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills. It may take around 30 days to receive funds.

You may also be eligible for a $10,000 emergency cash grant advance if you’re spending it on maintaining staff, mortgage or lease payments, increased costs because of supply chain disruption.

Who can apply?
Small businesses (>500 employees), non-profits, and independent contractors in every state can apply.

What’s the process?
Apply online and select ‘Economic Injury’ as the reason you’re seeking assistance. It will ask you to provide supporting documentation, which might include your most recent tax returns, or a personal financial statement, alongside a credit check and lists all your current debts. No collateral or personal guarantees are required. If you need help, the SBA Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center is available at 1-800-659-2955

Paycheck Protection Program Loan Guarantee
The CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program Loan Guarantee exists to help you keep employees on payroll. The Act is also retroactive, incentivizing small businesses to rehire employees who have recently been laid off. The maximum interest rate under this program is 4% and the loan term is up to 10 years. If all employees are kept on payroll for eight weeks, SBA will forgive the portion of the loans used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. Up to 100 percent of the loan is forgivable. Here are the terms.

Who can apply?
Businesses with fewer than 500 employees, although certain businesses with more employees can apply, like hospitality businesses or ESOPs.

What’s the process?
Look out for more information about eligible lenders and additional guidance from the SBA soon.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The House recently passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which is designed to give relief to people and businesses affected by Covid-19. It is an amendment of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) but specifically provides 80 hours of paid coronavirus-based leave.

The bill provides tax credits for businesses that provide benefits for companies and self-employed individuals who are affected by coronavirus. It can cover up to 100 percent of qualified paid sick leave, for employers, and a 67 percent refundable tax credit for self-employed people caring for a child or family member.

State and local initiatives

New York
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on March 8th that the City will provide relief for small businesses across the City seeing a reduction in revenue because of COVID-19. Businesses with fewer than 100 employees who have seen sales decreases of 25% or more will be eligible for zero-interest loans of up to $75,000 to help mitigate losses in profit.

For smaller companies with fewer than five employees, the New York City Employee Retention Program offers a grant of up to $27,000 that covers 40% of payroll costs over the course of two months.

Resources for small businesses are available through the Office of the Small Business Advocate. OSBA has a network of small business centers throughout the state to offer consulting and training and access to capital. Here’s a list of local centers. You can also contact the office directly.

Employers can apply for the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Work Sharing Program if reduced production, services, or other conditions cause them to seek an alternative to layoffs.

Most cities have a moratorium on evictions, which includes commercial properties. 

In San Francisco, the Mayor’s Office announced measures to support small businesses, including deferral of business taxes and licensing fees, the launch of an economic relief fund, and other efforts for small businesses and workers.

Businesses and microenterprises in Los Angeles that provide low-income jobs can get an emergency microloan of $5,000 to $20,000.

In Florida,
short-term loans of up to $50,000 are available to businesses affected by the virus.

Washington State
The state is working to compile a larger list of local bankers, financial associations, telecoms, utilities, and major employers that may be able to provide relief on debts and late-penalty forgiveness, favorable credit terms, and deferred bills. If you need to shut down operations temporarily because an employee becomes sick and other employees need to be isolated or quarantined, your workers may be able to receive unemployment benefits and you may receive relief of benefit charges.

Seattle has its own stabilization fund for small businesses with five or fewer employees and a physical location in the city.

The State of Michigan will provide both grants and loans to small businesses affected by the coronavirus starting on or around April 1.

In Denver, the Economic Development & Opportunity program is connecting the business community to the most appropriate resources available, depending on the answers you give in an online form, and is also offering cash grants of up to $7,500 for the hardest hit.

People in Chicago can apply for low-interest loans of up to $50,000 with repayment terms of up to five years.

Private companies

Facebook announced on Tuesday morning that it is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries where it operates (an average of $3,333 per business). It says it will help with rent costs, operational costs, and for businesses connect with more customers.

Amazon is creating a $5 million Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund to provide cash grants to Seattle small businesses that need assistance.

Etsy will invest $5,000,000 over the next month to drive sustained business for sellers. It will also provide a one month grace period to any seller who needs extra time paying their bills.

Yelp Support
While they aren’t offering cash grants, Yelp is offering $25 million in waived advertising fees, free advertising, products, and services to small businesses, mainly local restaurants and nightlife establishments, that have been impacted by coronavirus.


Kiva, is a non-profit that expands access to capital for entrepreneurs around the world through its network of 1.6 million lenders. The maximum loan on the Kiva platform has increased from $10,000 to $15,000. Because of COVID-19, Kiva is expanding its eligibility for a loan, meaning that more businesses in the U.S. could access its program. Apply online. You’ll have 30 days to go public on its platform.

James Beard Foundation Relief Fund
This foundation is gaining support and funds from corporate, foundation, and individual donors to help provide micro-grants to independent small businesses in the food and beverage industry.

For Freelance Artists

Four HowlRound employees created a list of free resources, opportunities, and financial relief options available for artists of all disciplines whose incomes have been affected by the outbreak of COVID-19.

CERF+ was started by artists for artists in the craft community as a grassroots mutual aid effort in 1985 and focuses on safeguarding artists’ livelihoods nationwide.

Online Groups 

#NewtoNext: Information and Resources for Women Entrepreneurs
This Facebook group is a space women entrepreneurs can learn from and inspire each other, admins share education and resources, mentorship, and networking opportunities.

Startup Skill Exchange
This Facebook group offers a mutual exchange of skills and support; a place to find and share talents.

Mental Health Help

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Coping with Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks
A resource about knowing the signs of stress in yourself and your loved ones. Know how to relieve stress, and know when to get help.

Disaster Distress Helpline 
1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. (TTY 1-800-846-8517)

[Remember, if you or someone you care about are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Toll-Free: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255), Toll-Free (español): 1-888-628-9454]

Nice things

Free resources for teaching children
Here’s a list of high-quality educational materials and resources from The New York Times  

Meditation app, Headspace, has put together a collection—free for everyone—called Weathering the storm. It includes meditations, sleep, and movement exercises to help you out, however you’re feeling.

Yoga, Dance
From Thursday, March 19th, will be hosting a community challenge for self-care and peace of mind. Thirty days, 30 themes, and 30 free yoga classes.

305 Fitness dance-cardio party is one of NYC’s most popular workout classes. In light of the COVID-19 closures, founder Sadie Kurzban is now offering free cardio dance live streams twice a day on YouTube at noon and 6 pm EST.

Corepower Yoga is offering a free suite of classes on its website. 

Planet Fitness: Known as being the “judgment-free zone” of the fitness space, Planet Fitness will host “Home Work-Ins”–a series of free fitness classes for everyone–that will stream live on Planet Fitness’ Facebook page daily at 7 pm EST.

Class Central
Class Central has put together a list of free online courses from Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton, and Yale; from Modern and Contemporary Poetry to Introduction to Financial Accounting.


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