POWELL, Tenn. (WATE) – For small business owners and nonprofits affected by the COVID-19 shutdown, applications are now open to apply for loans as part of the massive stimulus package approved by Congress.
The $2.2 trillion coronavirus aid, relief and economic security act, known as the CARES Act, was approved and signed last Friday.
Among the many provisions in the CARES Act is a loan for small business owners who are out of work and can’t pay fixed debts or accounts payable. But for some business owners, filling out the application is difficult.
In Powell, Bobby Strader has closed his barbershop. Like other barbers and hair stylists, he’s following social distancing guidelines enforced by state and local governments to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The shutdown of his shop, likely for another month, will hit him hard.
“Well financially, I can’t pay my bills. As a small business owner, as a barber, we get paid for what we do. So, if we’re not cutting hair, we’re not getting paid.”Bobby Strader
Having filed business income forms, Strader is eligible for a loan through the Small Business Administration, but he says trying to navigate the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan application has been frustrating.
“I don’t have very good internet navigation skills and computer skills. I work with my hands, not computers. I use clippers. Navigating that system, getting from point A to point B is very hard, almost impossible.”Strader
WATE got Strader in touch with Cliff Caudill. He’s a retired business executive who works for a nonprofit called SCORE. Caudill expressed his frustration in trying to register for the COVID-19 loan for small business owners.
“Really that is just late breaking where they have just opened up the website. Where people are wanting a lot of information on what do I do? Where do I go? How do I fill out these forms? So, we’re providing that type of assistance right now.”Cliff Caudill – Score mentor
At Caudill’s office, SCORE provides mentoring services for those either starting a business or have a new enterprise underway. He says over the last few days there have been several calls about the COVID-19 loan process.
“There are loans with a 3.5% interest rate for business and a 2.75% interest rate for nonprofits.”Caudill
Caudill told Stader he could either mail the application form to him or help him directly from their respective offices.
“We need Cliff out there. We need people like him out there reaching out to these small businesses. Because if they don’t know how to apply for these benefits that the government has released to us, they’re going to go belly-up.”Strader
Terms of the COVID-19 Economic Injury and Disaster Loan are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay. One requirement is an IRS Business Financial Statement.
Once an application is sent in, we’re told it may take about two weeks for approval.
Bobby Strader says if he is approved, he’ll definitely benefit form the loan.
To get in touch with SCORE, their website is www.greaterknoxville.score.org.
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