Small businesses are going through a very difficult time. Many have been forced to close their doors temporarily. Other local businesses have seen a sharp decline in foot traffic as people adapt to new social distancing guidelines and stay home.
Hopefully some help is on the way. There are quite a few relief programs being offered on the local, state and federal levels, that include grants and low interest loans, to help small businesses. Most namely, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is currently providing low-interest loans of up to $2 million for small businesses impacted by coronavirus. States and cities (such as NYC's Financial Assistance for Businesses Impacted by COVID-19) are offering assistance packages of their own. Small business owners should explore these options and take advantage of any assistance available.
Many companies are stepping up as well to help less fortunate businesses get through this difficult time. Here's a list of 11 tools and resources being made available by companies to help startups and small businesses weather the current pandemic:
1) Facebook: Offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits.
2) Microsoft: Offering premium version of Teams for free for six months and has lifted existing user limits on its free version.
3) Google: Rolling out free access to advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers, globally.
4) Zoom: Offering advanced capabilities with a free license and the 40-minute limit on meetings was lifted for Basic (free) users in China, providing unlimited time to collaborate.
5) Kabbage: Any business can sign up to sell gift certificates online, and anyone can purchase them to support participating small businesses.
6) Amazon: Businesses in Bellevue, Wash. and the South Lake Union and Regrade neighborhoods of Seattle — particularly those that rely on foot traffic — can apply online for a grant from Amazon’s $5 million fund.
7) Finder: Find free or low-interest funding to keep Small Businesses affected by the coronavirus afloat.
8) Citibank: Offering small business customers fee waivers on monthly service fees and remote deposit capture; waived penalties for early CD withdrawal; Bankers available after hours and on weekends for support.
9) JPMorgan Chase: $50 Million philanthropic investment to help address impacts of COVID-19. Of which, $8 million to assist small businesses vulnerable to significant economic hardships in the U.S., China and Europe.
10) Comcast: Opening Xfinity WiFi network nationally for free and offering unlimited data for free.
11) Digipave: As we announced last week, Digipave created a marketing assistance package for small businesses and startups impacted by the current crisis. A free 30 minute consulting session is available for eligible companies to learn how to use digital marketing in a smart way to overcome the crisis. Additionally, we are offering zero setup fee, express campaign launch in 72 hours and a free website review.
We'll do our best to keep the list above up-to-date as we learn about more programs available to small business during this challenging time. If you have any tips on how to support small business owners in your community, let us know in the comments below, on Facebook or LinkedIn.