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Commerce Sec. Kelly M. Schulz. (The Daily Record / Bryan P. Sears)

Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz. (The Daily Record / Bryan P. Sears)

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak hammering businesses in Maryland and across the nation nearly every level of government is providing funds to help small firms retain employees and stay open.

Government agencies, such as the Small Business Administration and the Maryland Department of Commerce, are accepting applications for funds online. While local groups, such as the Baltimore Development Corporation, continue to alert local small businesses about these resources, and even launching their own portals to aggregate the various resources in one place.

“I don’t think any agency … has dealt with (an emergency) the size and scope of what we’re (all) dealing with right now,” BDC President and CEO Colin Tarbert said.

Last week Congress approved a $2 trillion stimulus package that included $377 billion in aid for small businesses.

During a webinar for Baltimore businesses Tuesday, organized by BDC and the region’s largest SBA lender M&T Bank,  Sen. Ben Cardin called the level of business assistance “unprecedented,” but warned firms to be smart in how they go about seeking those funds.

“You can do both state and federal (programs)… however, you can’t use the same monies for the same purposes. So you have to make sure that’s coordinated,” Cardin said.

Steven Umberger, director of the SBA’s Baltimore district office, said in the face of so many new applications for help the federal programs have experienced “hiccups.” He asked for patience, but said the agency’s now on solid footing.

“Now we’re up, we’re quicker, better, we’re easier to use, and better suited to handle the unprecedented volume of applications coming,” Umberger said.

State agencies have also been flooded with requests for funds from the $175 million aid package for small businesses approved by Gov. Larry Hogan. Maryland Department of Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz said the state’s loan and grant funds already received nearly 20,000 applications.

“I think it’s just really important for everybody to understand that we’re hearing, just like you are, from many, many businesses that are frightened and unsure of what to do and how to move forward,” Schulz said during the webinar.

FEDERAL: Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act

Paycheck Protection Program Loans 

  • Allows businesses to borrow 2.5 time their pre-coronavirus payroll
  • Covers eight weeks of payroll
  • Allows 20% of loan to cover expenses like rent and utility
  • Loans 100% forgiven if businesses maintain pre-pandemic workforce

Application: Paycheck Protection Program Loans available through existing private lenders offering SBA 7(a) loans, however, The Department of Treasury plans to authorize new lenders.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans 

  •  Fixed interest rate of 3.75% over 30 years
  • SBA provides loans up to $2 million
  • First payment deferred 12 months

Application: Businesses apply for a loan through the SBA online. The local SBA district office should be used as a resource in applying.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance

  • Businesses not required to repay advance
  • Firms receive cash within three days of approval
  • Funds cover fixed expenses, payroll, and other bills

Application: Businesses must apply for an EIDL loan. SBA asks if business owners want to apply for advance during that process.

Small Business Debt Relief Program

  • Covers SBA’s 7(a) credit line, 504 economic development loans, and microloans
  • Waives interest and principal for six month
  • Applies to SBA loans taken out during next six months
  • Does not include loans from Paycheck Protection Program

Application:  Apply for 7(a) loans, which can be made for up to $5 million,  through a bank or “mission-based lender.” SBA offers a lender match referral tool. Applications for 504 loans, which can be made for up to $5.5 million, are made with a Certified Development Company. SBA offers a lender match referral tool.

Maryland: COVID-19 Emergency Relief

Small Business COVID-19 Relief Loan Fund

$75 million fund provides working capital

  • Loans up to $50,000 for business up to 50 employees
  • No interest for 12 months then 2% remaining 36 months
  • Eligible businesses established by March 9 2020

Application: Business may apply online via Maryland’s “One Stop” licensing and permit website.

Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant Fund

  •  $50 million grant fund for nonprofits and businesses
  • Grants up to $10,000 to businesses and nonprofits with up to 50 employees
  • Annual revenues can’t top $5 million to be eligible
  • Applicants expected to seek longer-term SBA or bank funding

Application: Business may apply online via Maryland’s “One Stop” licensing and permit website.

COVID-19 Emergency Relief Manufacturing Fund 

  • $5 million incentive fund enticing makers to produce needed equipment
  • Grants up to $100,000 to bolster capacity or pivot to making needed equipment
  • Covers capital expenses, raw materials and operating expenses related to production

Application: Manufacturers may apply online via Maryland’s “One Stop” licensing and permit website.