Facebook Small Business Grants, Other Finance Options Highlight Monday Webinar
Small businesses are encouraged to apply now for $4,000 grants funded by Facebook. The deadline to apply is 9 p.m. Tuesday (Pacific Daylight Time).
The grants include $2,500 cash and $1,500 in Facebook ad credits. Facebook will distribute $8.5 million in the Seattle area. Learn more at www.facebook.com/grantsforbusiness.
"This is not on a first-come first-served basis," said Diana Doukas, Facebook's manager for economic impact, in a Monday webinar. "So please do not worry that if you have not gotten the opportunity to submit your application yet, that you would be penalized."
Doukas shared the information during AWB’s weekly COVID-19 Employer Resources Webinar Series.
Updates on this and other funding opportunities were among highlights from AWB's Monday Employer Resources Webinar. Listeners also heard from top finance, insurance, federal and U.S. Chamber of Commerce leaders who are working on ways to mitigate the economic damage of the coronavirus.
Check out an audio version of the webinar below.
To be eligible for the Facebook grants, small businesses must be for profit entities that employ between two and 50 people; have been in business for a year; describe how the firm has been impacted by COVID-19; and be located in or near a Facebook location. The company is also placing a special emphasis on minority and women-owned businesses, Doukas added.
Doukas also highlighted the Facebook business resource hub located at www.facebook.com/business. There, employers can learn about gift cards, which allow friends and supporters to send money to small businesses impacted by the pandemic; changes to the fundraising tool, which is now open to for-profit operations; digital marketing; and resiliency toolkits organized by sector.
The chief policy officer for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce mentioned a new lending option that became available from the Federal Reserve just last week: The Main Street Lending Program.
"If you're one of the larger small businesses, or a mid-sized employer, this is a great opportunity to get a low interest loan payable over four years to help weather this storm and this transition," the chamber's Neil Bradley said.
He also highlighted the Employee Retention Tax Credit, which offers a credit up to $5,000 for qualifying employers. Learn more from the chamber's tax credit guide here.
Monday's listeners also heard from Nicholas Matthews, CEO of the MainStreet Initiative by MainVest. MainVest connects small businesses with investors at the community level. The company manages the issuance and repayment of debt securities for businesses through an online platform. Matthews described it as "a very simple way for businesses to have a clear framework to go out to their community, and get capital in a way that was previously inaccessible."
And Monday's listeners also connected with a top official at the U.S. Small Business Administration. Deputy Chief of Staff Christopher Gray said the agency has processed 3.8 million loans totaling more than half a trillion dollars, or $500 billion. About 5,300 lenders nationwide are participating in the Paycheck Protection Program, more than double the original number when it began April 3.
The SBA is currently processing the second round of the Paycheck Protection Program. So far, the agency has processed 50,288 loans totaling more than $5 billion in Washington state, Gray said.
During the question and answer session, Gray was asked if there were any plans to extend the eight-week timeframe to spend the Paycheck Protection Program funds, or the payroll and business expense ratio required under the requirements to make the loan forgivable.
"At this point the answer is no," Gray said. The purpose of the program is to keep people on the payroll and off the unemployment line, he noted.
He also highlighted the agency's website, which includes frequently asked questions, guidance from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and information about how federal dollars are being distributed across the country.
"I really just encourage everybody to go to sba.gov and take advantage of the resources that are there," Gray said.
AWB's next webinar is scheduled for Monday, May 11. The webinars are free and open to AWB members and all Washington employers. Monday's subject is "E-commerce: Take Your Brick and Mortar Business Online." Register today.