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Paycheck Protection Program deadline approaches

Targeted Business Exclusivity Ends March 9th
Updated: Mar. 3, 2021 at 5:11 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Time is running out for small businesses to get to the head of the line in the latest round of the Paycheck Protection Program.

March 9, 2021 is the last day for targeted businesses to get a jump on qualifying for the forgivable loan to help with payroll and expenses.

Targeted businesses have a few more days to get ahead of the line in the latest round of the Paycheck Protection Program.

The Paycheck Protection Program offers some help to struggling businesses, but many had issues in the first round.

Michael Ricks is the Louisiana district director of the Small Business Administration (SBA).

He said, “The system was clogged up by automated applications and a lot of our community banks and credit unions that service the independent contractors, the small business owners the ones that they primarily go to couldn’t get in to make applications and request a loan authorization.”

Congress approved a second round of the forgivable loans in December.

After the system was overwhelmed by larger loans in the first go around in 2020, the Biden administration set a 14-day window for businesses with less than 20 employees to get a first crack at the pool of funds approved by congress in December.

Ricks said, “Lesson’s learned. One of the problems that we had when we did the first round of PPP was that a lot of the large loans came through.”

Laverne Toombs is the executive director of the New Orleans Regional Black Chamber of Commerce. She said, “We’re excited about that. We know that it has been somewhat challenging for a number of our small black businesses.”

The NORBC is taking initiative to help get its members signed up before the March 9 deadline. Toombs said, “We don’t want them running all over the place and getting frustrated.” The organization directs members to Small Business Administration resources and independent lenders.

That help is available to everyone. Ricks said, “We do have councilors standing by. Their services are free to you. Your tax dollars have already paid them so you might as well use them.”

Ricks encourages all to check their qualifications.

He said, “If I don’t get my application in before March 9 can I still apply?. . .Yes you can. . .But be advised you’re in there with all the other loans that are coming in from a lot of the larger small businesses and organizations.”

Ricks said, “You can have a business that’s small that actually has 1500 employees depending upon the industry sector. When the money is gone. The money is gone. So I appreciate this opportunity to talk about it because we really do want our small, independent contractors, sole proprietors to make an application to get their loans.”

The forgiveness process is a separate application, but if borrowers follow the guidelines, it is likely.

Toombs said, “There’s no guarantee that a certain percentage of that will be forgiven, but it is my understanding that a number of our small businesses that have applied for forgiveness have been forgiven.”

Ricks said it’s especially helpful to run your application by a councilor if this will be your second draw from the program.

The Small Business Administration provides councilors across the state to help with the application process. You can access them through the regional Small Business Development Centers.

They also produced a series of targeted webinars linked below:

These are the links to Webinars we have scheduled for the rest of this week broken out by demographics. The links will take you to where you can register for this information.

• Mar. 4, 2:00 p.m. CT, Asian-American + Pacific Islander, Native American + Tribal Small Business Owners; Click here to register.

• Mar. 5, 12:00 p.m. CT, Black + African-American Small Business Owners, Click here to register.

• Mar. 5, 2:00 p.m. CT, Hispanic Small Business Owners, Click here to register.

• Mar. 6, 1:00 p.m. CT, Veterans, Self-Employed Business Owners, Click here to register.

• Mar. 8, 2:00 p.m. CT, LGTBQ Business Owners, Youth Entrepreneurs, Restaurant Owners, Click here to register.

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