The Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA) are partnering with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Arizona District Office to offer direct assistance to small businesses through the CARES Act Readiness Program for Small Businesses. This is a free training program that helps both novice and experienced borrowers navigate the federal CARES Act.
Congress and the Trump administration came to an agreement on a second stimulus last Friday, April 24 and the SBA resumed processing applications for the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program on April 27. The second stimulus includes $250 billion in new funding for the PPP program, $60 billion for EIDL, and a $60 billion set-aside for small banks and an alternative network of community development banks.
Small businesses participating in the CARES Act Readiness Program will benefit greatly from getting answers and assistance directly from SBA officials during live sessions with program participants.
“We are happy to participate in helping small business through the pandemic,” said Robert J. Blaney, District Director, U.S. Small Business Administration, Arizona District Office.
The program, which can be found in English at caresactaz.com and Spanish at caresactaz.com/espanol, offers a suite of free online training modules that users will complete depending on their previous borrowing experience and that will culminate in helping businesses submit loan applications.
“The CARES Act offers Arizona small businesses lifelines to help them weather this unprecedented period,” Arizona Chamber President and CEO Glenn Hamer said. “We are pleased to partner with the SBA’s Arizona District Office. This partnership will give greater access to small businesses in Arizona, especially those with fewer than 50 employees. The more support we can offer these businesses the better.”
The CARES Act, which the president signed into law on March 27, contains the $350 billion Paycheck Protection Program, which makes available forgivable loans to businesses with fewer than 500 employees, as well as to sole proprietors, independent contractors and certain non-profits. The bill also includes a grant program to issue up to $10,000 to small businesses applying to the Small Business Administration’s low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance (EIDL Advance) program.
Just this week, another announcement was released regarding a partnership with Acronis #CyberFit Financing and Lendio to accelerate and streamline the process for eligible small businesses to access capital offering especially the underbanked. ASBA and the Chamber have also leveraged their network of bank members, community partners and online platforms to connect program participants directly with lending resources. What is more, the Arizona Commerce Authority proudly supports this effort to help small businesses throughout the state as a keystone strategic partner to the CARES Act Readiness Program for Small Businesses.
“We’re here to help small businesses get the training they need so they can complete their loan applications quickly and correctly,” ASBA CEO Jess Roman said. “I am excited by our partnership with the SBA. Small businesses will benefit by interacting directly with SBA representatives during our live sessions. We want to have actionable information as quickly as possible.”
Banks began processing Paycheck Protection Program loan applications again on April 27. Over 960,000 loans were approved for almost $90 billion dollars this week by 5,300 participating lenders. Funding is expected to run out quickly. The Arizona Chamber and ASBA are urging Arizona small businesses to submit their applications now before funding is depleted. More funding is expected to come in the following weeks.