COVID-19: A Roundup of Resources for Small Businesses

Stepping up to help businesses, local organizations such as the Dallas Regional Chamber, UNT Health Science Center, the UTD Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the City of Fort Worth, and the U.S. India Chamber of Commerce are distributing vital information.

This post will continually be added to with submissions from readers. It was last updated on May 14.

During this time of crisis, small businesses in North Texas can use all the help they can get in weathering the COVID-19 pandemic that is having a major impact here and across the world.

Rallying to help, many organizations in North Texas are providing entrepreneurs resources they can use to stay afloat during the outbreak.

Among those we’ve found providing resources are the Dallas Regional Chamber, the University of Texas at Dallas, and the U.S. India Chamber of Commerce DFW. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban also took to LinkedIn to answer questions from the public.

If you come across a resource page that can help, let us know and we’ll add it here.

U.S. Small Business Association (SBA)

The Paycheck Protection Program is prioritizing millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $349 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses. Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, Veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards. The SBA loan, implemented by the Small Business Administration with support from the Department of the Treasury. aims to helps businesses keep their workforce employed during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

The Dallas Regional Chamber has a new COVID-19 resources site

The Dallas Regional Chamber said it is constantly monitoring the coronavirus outbreak’s impact on the Dallas region. It has put together a COVID-19 Resources website that offers news you need to know, employer resources and best practices, job opportunities, and educational resources, among other things.

‘Let’s Grow North Texas Business’: A centralized hub of small business resources

The DEC Network, along with more than 100 business support partners, launched the platform to help small businesses and entrepreneurs in North Texas find available resources as they are faced with uncertainty in the COVID-19 crisis. The platform has fast-track mentoring, online tools, funding resources, and accurate information on helpful programs, according to The DEC.

Dallas Entrepreneur Center: The DEC Resources

The DEC wants to help keep entrepreneurs running in DFW. Its resource page is focused on a variety of resources for local businesses needing help as well as resources for consumers wanting to help local businesses around the region.

UT Dallas offers tips during uncertain times

The Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UT Dallas on its LinkedIn page notes that small businesses “are the pulse of our economy,” and said that it is determined to help entrepreneurs in any way it can.

It showcase two resources that might be a source of relief to small business owners: a Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loan (Exclusively for Texans) and a Facebook Small Business Grant Program.

Texas Governor Abbott Announces $50M in Small Business Loans With Goldman Sachs, LiftFund

Gov. Abbott said the new program is designed to keep small businesses up and running by giving them access to the capital that they need to maintain their payrolls. Loans will be distributed in Texas through the SBA payroll protection program and could be partially, or entirely, forgiven if certain criteria are met. You can find out more and apply here.

Salesforce to support small businesses through $10,000 grants

The new Salesforce Care Small Business Grants will ultimately distribute $5 million to small businesses with the goal being to provide capital to help them weather the current crisis. The application process for U.S. businesses will open in mid-April 2020. Salesforce is also offering free resources to support small businesses and free access to its customer relationship management tool and its tool to help organizations make data-driven decisions. You can learn more and sign up to be notified for Salesforce Care Small Business Grants here

Health Science Center uses platform to inform Fort Worth

UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth is disseminating information on the latest resources to entrepreneurs and business owners via the Sparkyard platform, Director of Innovation Ecosystems Cameron Cushman says.

The goal is to push a newsletter every few days filled with information on resources available to those affected by the coronavirus outbreak. In them, HSC offers a calendar and a link to get a personal action plan from Sparkyard for your company, and a link to a survey from the City of Fort Worth to help leaders better understand the effects of the pandemic on business revenue, staffing, and other resources.

Here’s a link for interested people to sign up.

Fort Worth officials provide information for businesses

The City of Fort Worth also is constantly monitoring and assessing the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the local businesses, saying it is “critical that Fort Worth’s business community take all necessary steps to help the city reduce the spread” of the virus.

It offers updates on reduced city occupancy limits, links to the Small Business Administration and other valuable information.

Dallas Economic Development offers information

The Dallas Economic Development Office has established a website aimed at helping small business cope with the COVID-19 crisis. It offers information on actions taken by the city, as well as a summary of unemployment benefits and eligibility, and helpful information from the Small Business Administration. You can find it here.

Also, you can find information on the Dallas Economic Development Small Business Loan Program here.

City of Fort Worth, PeopleFund launch microloan program for local businesses

The Business Resiliency Microloan Program has been created to support Fort Worth businesses affected by the COVID-19 crisis with at least $850,000 available, but could total more than $1.7 million depending on the demand for relief. Maximum loan amounts may go up to $50,000 per business, but at least half of these loans will be $15,000 or less, and at least 60 percent of loan proceeds will be allocated to minority-owned businesses and those with low to moderate income, according to a statement. You can learn more about the program here.

Neighborhood Goods Plans Free Store Space for Businesses

The Commons by Neighborhood Goods plans to provide a free platform for local and national brands, restaurants, musicians, and artists who have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. Whether a business has been affected by wholesale orders being canceled, revenue or logistics being disrupted, or other issues resulting from COVID-19, The Commons is accepting applications from any businesses that can’t “weather the COVID-19 storm.” You can apply to the program here.

U.S. India Chamber of Commerce DFW informs members via newsletter

The U.S. India Chamber of Commerce DFW’s newsletter was chock full of information on emergency legislation aimed at helping businesses during the crisis, how to apply for economic assistance, and tips for those who might want to travel to India or do business there. Read on:

Summary of House Emergency Bill

Provided by Estes, Thorne, & Carr:

The US. House of Representatives passed an emergency relief bill on March 14, and after making revisions, sent it to the Senate on March 16, 2020. The bill still needs to pass the Senate and be signed by the president to become law.

The bill contains an expansion of the Family Medical Leave Act and an Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act. Read the full report on the House bill provided by Estes, Thorne, & Carr, LLP, an employment and labor law firm that is woman-owned and HUB certified.

Application Process for Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA

Provided by Senator John Cornyn’s Office regarding the process for applying for Small Business Administration (SBA) loans:

At the moment, there are two components to qualify for an SBA loan.  

First, counties in Texas must meet an economic impact threshold for businesses within those counties to become eligible for loans. Once a county is certified by SBA, then businesses within that county can become eligible for the loans. I’ve outlined the two steps Texas businesses in need should take below. 

1. Register with the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM):  The SBA has designated COVID-19 as a qualifying event for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) for businesses and private non-profits in affected communities. Before a business can become eligible to receive funds, the county in which it resides must first meet an economic impact threshold. The Governor’s Office and TDEM are currently working with SBA to qualify counties for this declaration, and we expect it will happen soon. To help that process, Texans should register with TDEM here.

2. Apply for an SBA loan: Once Texas counties are certified by the SBA (stemming from step #1 above), qualified businesses that have applied will be eligible to start receiving funds. You can apply for an SBA loan here. SBA’s fact sheet on SBA Disaster Loan Assistance is below, and a step-by-step process for business owners is attached. For additional information, I encourage you to visit the SBA website.

Disaster Loan Assistance

There are also Disaster Loans for businesses, private nonprofits, homeowners, and renters.

You can apply online for all types of SBA disaster assistance loans. The online application is the fastest method to receive a decision about your loan eligibility. You have the option of submitting a paper application by mail. For either application, you must submit the completed loan application and a signed and dated IRS Form 4506-T giving permission for the IRS to provide SBA your tax return information.

You may also apply in person at any Disaster Recovery Center and receive personal, one-on-one help from an SBA representative. For information or to find a location near you, contact the Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 or e-mail [email protected]

Here’s an overview of the three-step process for Disaster Loans.

To repay the Disaster Loan, you can make a one-time payment or schedule recurring monthly payments by registering on Pay.gov and selecting the 1201 Borrower Payments option. There are several ways to make a payment on your disaster loan: by phone, by mail or online.

OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has released a report with guidance for employers on how to keep employees safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the report here.

Google’s resources page for businesses in uncertain times

Google for Small Business has posted a helpful website loaded with tips and recommendations to help businesses chart a course through the crisis. You can find it here.

Facebook Global Grant Program offers $100M (May 6)

Social media giant Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits to small businesses during the COVID-19 crisis, Sheryl Sandberg announced. The offer is for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in 30 countries where Facebook operates. In North Texas, Facebook will be awarding grants totaling more than $250,000 to 63 small businesses in Dallas and more than $300,000 to 75 small businesses in Fort Worth. The grants are a “critical injection to help local small businesses who need it most, so they can keep the lights on and help pay their employees,” said Maxine Williams, Facebook’s Global Chief Diversity Officer. Within the U.S. investment, Williams said the company is prioritizing “50 percent of grants to eligible minority, women and veteran-owned businesses due to the disproportionate negative impact that COVID-19.” Go here for more information. Deadline is May 6.

United Way Metropolitan Dallas Coronavirus Response and Recover Fund

United Way of Metropolitan Dallas has launched an application and vetting process for the fund seeded at $1.2 million, which plans to prioritize the greatest needs and engage funders along with corporate and community partners to review and make funding recommendations. Proceeds will go to community-based organizations assisting those most impacted by the pandemic, with the goal of the fund being to fuel immediate and long-term relief for the region’s most vulnerable neighbors. Find more information here

Operation Hope offers $250K worth of employee counseling

Companies that wish to offer guidance and support related to financial wellbeing to employees can now do so through Operation Hope. The Hope Inside the Workplace initiative provides workshops, lunch-and-learn sessions, webinars, and individualized coaching so employees can work on attaining financial freedom. And, $250,000 worth of the counseling services are being offered to companies now. Submit a request here.

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