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Guest Opinion: Small business help in navigating the remainder of 2020

By Kim Preston

With a crazy 2020 almost on the books, let’s take a look at the opportunities your business has had available and what you need to do to cross the finish line on Dec. 31.

Have you spent your Payment Protection Program (PPP) dollars? This Small Business Administration (SBA) loan program is closed and now is the time to seek forgiveness.

According to the SBA, borrowers may be eligible for loan forgiveness if the funds were used for eligible payroll costs, payments on business mortgage interest payments, rent or utilities during either the 8- or 24-week period after disbursement.

A borrower can apply for forgiveness once they have used all loan proceeds for which the borrower is requesting forgiveness. Borrowers can apply for forgiveness at any time up to the maturity date of the loan. If borrowers do not apply for forgiveness within 10 months after the last day of the covered period, then PPP loan payments are no longer deferred and the borrower will begin making loan payments to their PPP lender.

Work with your PPP lender to apply for loan forgiveness.

Did you apply for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)? There is still time. This longer-term, low-interest loan can help you get your business back up and running.

Small business owners, including agricultural businesses and nonprofit organizations, can apply for an EIDL. The program is designed to provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue due to COVID-19. Potential borrowers should visit covid19relief.sba.gov/#/ for the application.

Proceeds can be used to cover a wide array of working capital and normal operating expenses, such as the continuation of health care benefits, rent, utilities and fixed debt payments. Payments will be due 12 months after signing the promissory note. Payments to this loan are not forgivable; however, payments can be made any time and there is no prepayment penalty.

Kim Preston is rural enterprise assistance project director at the Center for Rural Affairs.

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