Small Biz, Nonprofit Cheap Money Going Fast
By Dianne Anderson
Seems like small businesses and independent contractors everywhere are asking that same question – Got money?
Free or super cheap money in the form of grants doesn’t have to be paid, and right now, small businesses can’t lose.
“The percentage rate is a ridiculous low,” said Kim “Kat” Shepherd, chapter chair with the Inland Empire SCORE, in partnership with the Small Business Administration in Santa Ana to provide support, mentoring, training and workshops.
Shepherd participates in daily Zoom calls, and said many small businesses are still in the dark about available funding.
“We run the Zoom calls, we help answer questions. When we first started, there were literally 2,000 people a day on those calls,” she said.
Since COVID-19 hit, over 40 percent of all Black businesses have closed up shop.
She said the latest round of Paycheck Protection Program funding is important because the Black community barely tapped the first round, which was quickly grabbed up by bigger organizations. Small businesses of color missed out.
“Some people didn’t get it because they didn’t know. But, they have reserves now and money for disadvantaged businesses to get those funds,” she said.
The deadline for the Second Draw PPP Loan is March 31. Businesses that were not operational prior to February 15, 2020 are not eligible for those PPP loans.
Past SBA Zooms are available to review and answer questions regarding funding and resources. Shepherd said SCORE is available to teach small owners how to take businesses beyond the hobby stage, which has been a big hindrance.
Banks and lenders are not taking small businesses seriously if they failed to report their business earnings correctly. Businesses are unable to get support from financial programs without the proper documentation of taxes.
“They’re missing out on money because they didn’t run their business as a business,” she said. “People want to get the most out of their taxes, they’re not really claiming, [for example] if they made $50,000, but only claimed $20,000.”
Others didn’t have existing relationships with a bank.
“Many businesses were shut down. Some people didn’t have a bank account. Now they’re running through their personal account,” she said.
Christopher Lorenzana, deputy director of the Orange County / Inland Empire District Office, Small Business Administration, said the main takeaway is that SBA wants everyone who is eligible to apply.
Even 1099 independent contractors can receive help if they claimed earnings properly on their taxes.
With the first round of funding, he said people often sit on the sidelines to see how everything shakes out, but warns that additional rounds of funding are not promised for the future.
“If you are in need of capital, whether grant or loan, you should absolutely be learning about these SBA programs, more importantly applying for them,” he said, adding that small business nonprofits, and in some cases, a chamber of commerce, can receive funding.
The PPP is administered by SBA in partnership with all 5,500 PPP lenders nationwide. Those eligible to apply must use the loan for business purposes, to maintain or bring back their workforce, or other expenses, such as rent or PPE equipment.
The SBA Disaster Loan does not have to be paid back. The interest rate is 2.75%, and he said they now have about 150 calls coming into their daily Zooms at 2:00 p.m to answer questions live.
SBA Debt Relief is another component that is making payments on behalf of the borrower on loans for millions nationwide, whether SBA 7(a) or 504 loans.
“At some point [these programs] all have an expiration date,” he said. “What we don’t want to see is when these programs end that a business eligible to receive funding would say, ‘I didn’t even know.’”
Mike Daniel runs the Small Business Development Center at Cal State University Fullerton, and offers support with PPP and EiDL applications, along with city and county grants, or help renegotiate their leases.
Last March, he said most people thought the quarantine would only last a few weeks.
“So many businesses that haven’t paid their rent for six to eight months because there was a moratorium. What happens when that moratorium goes away? Are they going to kick them out then? There’s no way they can catch up,” said Daniel, Regional Director of the Orange County / Inland Empire SBDC Network.
As a business owner, it’s not unusual to pay $10,000 a month rent in Orange County. He said it could get much worse with foreclosures under a moratorium that bans eviction. Landlords can’t continue to keep their property going for months on end.
“You can only make it so long if you don’t have the foot traffic,” he said. “Even the people that own the commercial buildings, a lot of them are mom and pops.”
People are clamoring for help at SBDC. He said through the EiDL Loan, for-profit businesses can get a loan up to $150,000 at 3.75% or nonprofit businesses can tap 2.75%. He also helps with the application process for the California Grant Relief program.
So far, he said they have pushed about $35 million out to businesses.
“It doesn’t stop there. There’s other funding available, city funding. For Orange County, we administered 20 of 34 cities grant program for them when they got CARES Act funding, $5,000 to 15,000 grants to small businesses,” he said.
Each weekday, he hosts a daily call on PPP at 3:00 p.m., bringing in lenders, and banks to help establish a banking relationship.
He said that people shouldn’t be afraid to come and get the money.
“There has been $549 billion went out the first round during CARES Act. There’s another $250 billion allocated through this program, $20 billion went into the EiDL Loan program and many people qualify for both,” he said.
For more SBA funding information, see:
Deadline Second Draw PPP Loan: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program/second-draw-ppp-loans
For SBA information and Zoom meetings, see
To connect with Kim “Kat” Shepherd, see https://inlandempire.score.org/mentors/kim-kat-shepherd
For information on CSUF SBDC help with access to funding, see Mike Daniel at