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From the Executive Director

Information on COVID-19 Relief: This week I had the opportunity to participate in a virtual meeting regarding information on COVID-19 relief with the North Carolina District Director of the Small Business Association, Mr. Thomas Stith. Also joining him; SBA Western North Carolina Area Manager Sharon Harvey. This meeting was facilitated by the Asheville Chamber of Commerce to provide vital information to small businesses and organizations in the Western North Carolina region in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Follow this link for a complete guide to COVID-19 resources from the SBA.

Many of you have reached out for information on how to keep your business going during this difficult time. Specifically, how to apply for loan or grant assistance and with whom. This meeting focused on available loans and information for COVID-19 relief. These options are available through lenders that partner with the SBC. In other words the loans will be granted by banks or similar lending institutions and backed by the SBC. In most cases, the loan requestor will need to have a relationship with the lendor prior to applying for any of these loans. For a list of SBA partnered lenders click this link. LENDERS

Two of the most popular loan/grant opportunities discussed in the meeting were the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). Each has different benefits and different rules for re-payment, because of this please research the best option.

Paycheck Protection Program

The Paycheck Protection Program or PPP allows small businesses and qualified organizations (500 employees or less) to apply for a loan to continue to pay their full-time employees for (8) weeks. The loan can also be used to pay utilities, rents, and mortgages. However, in order for the loan to become forgiven (a grant) 75% must be used for payroll. Applicants will be required to provide past payroll records and will need to provide payroll records for the (8) week disbursement to FTE employees to the lender to qualify for forgiveness. For a full breakdown of the PPP loan click this link Paycheck Protection Program.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan or EIDL is for any small business with less than 500 employees (including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed persons), private non-profit organizations or 501(c)(19) veterans organizations affected by COVID-19. This loan is intended to provide relief to for qualifying applicants experiencing a temporary loss of revenue do to this crisis. There is some flexibilty on the payback for this loan but it is not a forgiveable loan or grant. Click here for more information Economic Injury Disaster Loan.

Other loans discussed were the SBA Express Bridge Loan and SBA Debt Relief. Each of the relief options mentioned in this post has different benefits and drawbacks. Of course those qualifiers are contingent on the needs of the individual business owners and organization directors. With that in mind please research these options and discuss the best fit for your situation with your lending institution.

If you have questions for the SBA in the Western North Carolina Region contact Sharon Harvey, SBA Senior Area Manager
A-B Tech Enka
1465 Sand Hill Road, suite 2032
Candler, NC 28715
cell: 202-805-8947

For local assistance and guidance for these processes please contact Paul Worley Director of Economic and Workforce Development. Paul’s office is closed to the public but he is taking appointments by phone or email.

How Long Will it Take?

One word of advice in regards to loan benefits. Patience. As hard as that may be with the pending difficulties associated with a decrease or complete loss of revenue the processing of these funds will require a little time and patience. Most of our lenders have received an unprecedented amount of applications for assistance so this may increase processing time. The estimated time according to the SBA North Carolina District Director, Thomas Stith, was approximatley 18 days to one month in most cases. Be proactive when applying for a loan or grants by having your documents in order. Examples: payroll records, documents of incorporation, 501 designation documents, business audits, tax records, etc. Again, you may consult with Paul Worley Director of Economic and Workforce Development with regards to what information you need to have ready during the application process.

I pray this COVID-19 Relief information is helpful. If you need information assistance please do not hesitate to contact me. While our office is closed to the public I am answering the phones and emails. I am also available for virtual meetings or in-person meetings where the public safety guidelines can be observed. May you continue in safety and health.

Sherry Raines, Executive Director-Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce

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