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.

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, some major 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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