The Small business Administration (SBA) is asking for input from small businesses in a bid to gauge customer satisfaction in regards to Covid-related relief. The SBA had provided relief to small businesses that were impacted by the pandemic through programs that include the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), SBA Express Bridge Loans, and others.
COVID Grants and Loans for Small Business
The programs provided a lifeline through direct disaster loan programs for businesses, homeowners, and renters. This includes loan guarantee and venture capital programs, management and technical assistance training programs, and contracting programs. The SBA is requesting small business owners to fill out a survey that will be used to monitor and improve the effectiveness of future SBA customer service and communications efforts. The survey deals with SBA’s flagship COVID relief, namely PPP COVID EIDL; SBA Express Bridge Loan; Shuttered Venue Operators Grant; and Restaurant Revitalization Fund.
How Did Grants and Loans Play Out
During the global Coronavirus pandemic of 2020, the CARES Act was signed into law, providing the first round of emergency relief for American workers and small businesses. In addition to traditional SBA funding options, the CARES Act and the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act established several temporary programs including grants for COVID-19 relief.
These measures were implemented to cushion small businesses from COVID-19’s adverse economic impact. This included productivity losses, supply chain disruptions, labor dislocation, and financial pressure on businesses and households. The following programs were implemented to address these issues:
- The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provided a 100% SBA loan guarantee, a maximum term of 10 years, and an interest rate not to exceed 4% to assist small businesses and other organizations affected.
- COVID EIDL offered small business loans to facilitate small businesses’ recovery from the COVID-19 disaster’s economic impacts by providing accessible and borrower-friendly capital.
- SBA Express Bridge Loans offered small businesses affected by Covid-19 to get up to $25,000 to cover operational expenses.
- The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program offers over $16 billion in grants to shuttered venues, to be administered by SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance.
- The Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) provided restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue losses by up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. Recipients are not required to repay the funding as long as funds are used for eligible uses no later than March 11, 2023.
According to the White House, the support helped reinvigorate some of the hardest hit small businesses. In 2021, a record number of Americans applied to start 5.4 million new businesses—more than 20 percent higher than any previous year on record and more than two-thirds higher than the annual average of 3.2 million new businesses applications per year in the five years before the start of the pandemic. Furthermore, in the first three quarters of 2021, small businesses with fewer than 50 employees created 1.9 million jobs, the fastest 9-month start in any year on record.
Refining Service Delivery
Earlier this month Congress passed seven bipartisan small business bills aimed at improving the operation and oversight of key Small Business Administration (SBA) programs. The bills were designed to promote policies that encourage small business development, hold small business pandemic fraudsters accountable, develop the small business workforce, and support small contractors doing business with the federal government.
Specifically, the bills include legislation to extend the statute of limitations on small business pandemic fraud cases, enhance workforce development offerings, and improve the procurement process for small businesses.
“These seven bills will help make key SBA programs more secure, accessible, and focused on the most pressing challenges for small firms”, said Chairwoman Nydia M. Velázquez
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