NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - The Small Business Administration is relaunching the Paycheck Protection Program. They’re doing so to make sure business owners of color and women entrepreneurs have improved access to federal funding.

“I love educating people about the holistic effects of CBD,” Micheala Sims said.

Healing and helping is in Micheala Sims’s nature. It’s why she started her business “Simple Hippie Heart.” But like many last year, she had to learn how to pivot because of COVID-19.

“In March, I was already looking for another job, just because I knew, as a small business owner, we’re not going to make any in the first two or three year. So, I need another outside source of income. Just so I could be comfortable,” Sims said.

She was shocked when she heard major corporations manage to get Paycheck Protection Program Loans while other small businesses were still in limbo.

“I feel like, being a small business owner. It’s really hurtful to see that people took advantage of the money that was meant for us, to continue to feed ourselves and our families cause some people. This is their only source of income,” Sims said.

It’s why non-profit organizations like the Small Business Majority are trying to get the word out as the PPP Loans relaunch this year.

“Initially when the program was launched back in June and July, a lot of the businesses who needed the funding most were left behind: Women owned businesses and minority-owned businesses. Some of them lacked the traditional lending relationships and because of that, lenders sort of prioritized their existing clients,” Awesta Sarkash said.

A survey by the Small Business Majority back in October found 41% of Black and Latino businesses won’t make it through the next few months without additional financial support.

“We’ve been calling for set asides for mission driven lenders, community development financial institutions (CDFI’s) and minority depository institutions, so we did get to see set asides to those programs.” Sarkash said.

As for Sims, she’s applying for her PPP Loan today, and hopes other minority and female owned business owners do the same.

“I feel like if we go in there with a positive energy, and we’re not afraid to ask, like, the worst question is not asking one at all,” Sims said.

Below are a few tips if you are considering applying for PPP:

Calculate your eligible amount.

  • You are eligible for 2.5 months worth of your average monthly payroll. That average can be over the last 12 months, all of 2020 or all of 2019. If self-employed, your eligibility is based on your net profit from your Schedule C.

Make sure you have all the required documentation.

  • PPP application form (available from SBA or your lender), proof of payroll costs, proof of business ownership.
  • If your banking institution is not a participating lender, consider using a credit union or a local community bank that is a participating lender.

Business owners are eligible if they have not yet received PPP, or if they did receive PPP and saw a 25% decline in revenue in a quarter this year compared to last year.

Once you receive funding, be sure to document how the loan was used towards eligible expenses. This is important for the loan forgiveness process.

If the parameters of PPP are not the best fit for you, consider other relief programs like the SBA's Debt Relief Program or EIDL Program.

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