CARES Act Counseling and Training Resources for Your Small Business

Topics: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was signed into law on March 27, 2020, offers a number of resources and financial relief options for businesses facing difficulty because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a small business owner, you may have questions about the Act, how to get started on benefiting from its financial resources, and what help is available to guide your small business through this difficult time.

CARES Act: Where Do I Begin?

To answer this question, you’ll first need to determine what your business is looking for right now. For example, do you need a quick influx of cash to cover some expenses right away? Do you need immediate financial assistance to help retain your employees? Or is there another financial situation you are having trouble with? What if I have questions about my business operations during the pandemic? Once you are able to determine what your needs are, you can begin looking into the resources available. The Small Business Association’s (SBA) website is a great place to get started.

What Financial Resources are Available?

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) 

This program provides assistance with cash flow to help your small business keep its payroll during the pandemic. These government-backed loans come from a network of SBA lenders across the country. Up to 100% of the principal amount of these loans may be forgiven if small businesses keep workers on the payroll (without salary reductions) or rehire laid-off employees. PPP loans can be used to cover most payroll, mortgage interest, rent and utilities costs over the eight-week period after the loan is made.

Unfortunately, as of April 16, 2020, the SBA announced that the initial $349 billion Congress allocated for PPP loans had been depleted. However, Congress passed a new bill on April 24, providing an additional $310 billion in relief for small businesses with $60 billion set aside for small lenders, another $60 billion in SBA disaster loans, $75 billion in grants for hospitals, and an additional $25 billion to increase testing for COVID-19. The funds are available on April 27.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) and Emergency Economic Injury Grants (EEIGs) 

EIDLs are meant to help businesses with the inability to pay their rent and other business expenses due to COVID-19. According to, this program can provide up to $2 million of financial assistance (actual amounts vary based on the amount of economic injury) to small businesses and nonprofit organizations. Businesses with less than 500 employees, along with many sole proprietorships, independent contractors and employee-owned companies are eligible for the loan.

EEIGs provide an advance of up to $10,000 that can be issued within three days of applying for an EIDL, and it does not need to be repaid. This grant is beneficial for small businesses that need immediate financial relief, and the eligibility stipulations are the same that apply for the EIDL.

Other Financial Options 

The SBA has other financial relief options available, such as:
  • Express Bridge Loans - Small businesses that currently have a relationship with an SBA Express Lender may access up to $25,000 right away to help bridge the gap while waiting for funds from an EIDL.
  • Debt Relief - According to the SBA website, this program may automatically pay the principal, interest and fees of existing 7(a), 504 and microloans for a period of six months. It will also automatically pay the principal, interest and fees of new 7(a), 504 and microloans issued before September 27, 2020.

Who Can Help Me?

The SBA works with several local partners to counsel, mentor and train small businesses. You can seek out the help of a business counselor through your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Women’s Business Center (WBC), SCORE mentorship chapter, the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) or Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC).

Funds provided to these organizations through the CARES Act allows them to provide small businesses with free counceling and advice, as well as training at low-to-no cost.

SBDC – The SBDC provides management assistance to current and prospective small business owners across the U.S. They help promote innovation, productivity and revenue for small businesses.

WBC – This program provides a network of more than 100 centers across the country that offer mentoring, training on business development topics like startup and financial management, and offer technical assistance to women entrepreneurs.

SCORE – SCORE helps entrepreneurs start and grow their small businesses. The organization is made up of volunteers who give back to their communities by imparting their knowledge of business development to the upcoming generation of entrepreneurs.

MBDA – This U.S. Department of Commerce agency promotes the growth and competitiveness of minority-owned businesses, including Hispanic and Latino American, Asian Pacific American, African American, and Native American businesses.

VBOC – This program provides business training, counseling and other assistance to transitioning service members, veterans, National Guard and Reserve members and military spouses interested in starting a small business.

These resource partners will receive additional funds to expand their reach and better support small business owners with counseling and up-to-date information regarding COVID-19. Use the SBA’s Local Assistance Directory to find an office near you.

AmTrust is Here for Our Small Business Insureds

We’ve created a library of resources regarding the coronavirus and funding resources to help your small businesses, agents and others stay informed, safe and healthy. For more information about our small business insurance solutions, please contact us today.

This material is for informational purposes only and is not legal, tax or business advice. Neither AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates represents or warrants that the information contained herein is accurate, appropriate or suitable for any specific business, tax or legal purpose. Readers seeking resolution of specific questions should consult their business, tax and/or legal advisors. Coverages may vary by location. Contact your local RSM for more information.

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