Another round of funding for small businesses
Governor’s plan aimed at small firms that didn’t receive PPP funds
The Baker administration released an economic recovery plan Oct. 22 that promises $50.8 million to small businesses that were hardest hit by COVID-19 closings.
The money is directed at businesses that couldn’t acquire Paycheck Protection Program loans and other grants toward the start of the pandemic. In July, MassINC Polling Group found that Black and Latino businesses were slightly less likely to be approved for PPP loans and were least likely to apply at all.
This revised budget proposal from the governor is part of $100 million in additional economic recovery funding.
The Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, led by Segun Idowu, has been sharing critical information about grants to minority-owned businesses. Businesses that have five or fewer employees can apply for up to $25,000. Businesses with 50 or fewer employees (including those with fewer than five employees) can also apply for up to $75,000. In order to qualify, an application must include invoices for expenses the grant will cover. The application will be open for three weeks, closing on Nov. 12 at noon.
In addition to the grants, there will be $8.3 million in technical assistance for small businesses, to help them access grant programs and loans, and to help them build skills and support during the pandemic.
Idowu says that BECMA, Amplify Latinx, LISC Boston, the Foundation for Business Equity and more organizations have been fighting throughout the summer for more funding, since the original $10 million in loans went quickly, and not to minority-owned businesses.
“The issue wasn’t that they weren’t aware of PPP,” he told the Banner. “One of the issues was that it was a first-come-first-serve program. So, that already kept us out the door because we don’t have accountants, we don’t have lawyers … our businesses don’t have the proper or the necessary infrastructure to quickly respond to opportunities like that,” he said.
In addition, a history of being denied loans can deter future applicants. That’s why it’s notable that these are grants that don’t need to be paid back, that will go to minority-owned and women-owned businesses first. Idowu stressed the importance of businesses getting in line now for the money that they’ve been fighting for over several months.
“In three, four weeks, the information might be different, based on what is learned from reading the applications and talking to business owners,” Idowu said. “At the end of the day, what the governor is responding to is our cry for deploying money as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
Idowu’s advice is to apply as soon as possible, even if business owners don’t know if they’re eligible or not.
He pointed to the Ad Hoc Small Business COVID-19 Response Coalition, a group of over 60 organizations that began petitioning the governor in April. The group criticized federal loan programs and laid out specific funding recommendations for small business recovery.
“The [federal] programs mostly benefit companies with modest reductions in revenue and/or the ability to retain their workers in productive roles,” the coalition wrote on April 22. “Finally, many are concerned that the program is perpetuating and potentially aggravating racial inequities in access to capital and wealth.”
They called for more intentional funding, specifically $75 million to Mass Growth Capital Corp. (MGCC) for “a revolving loan fund … with a particular focus on communities of color, immigrant communities, rural towns and Gateway Cities.”
The result is about $51 million in direct grants, as part of $100 million to invest in Main Streets programs, cultural facilities, programs like MassWorks, and other grants and funding for community development financial institutions.
The funds are distributed through MGCC, which streamlined the application process through its empoweringsmallbusiness.org website. This portal is powered by Submittable, rather than a Massachusetts government website, will accept and review submissions.