Main St. business neighbors team up to provide 1,000 free meals

Railroad & Main restaurant (left) and The Essex Agency insurance company (right) as seen from across Main Street in Essex Junction.

Last week, the Paycheck Protection Program reopened to Vermont’s small business owners.

According to U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) data collected by CNN, the first round of the PPP provided loans to 1,505 Vermont businesses.

In Chittenden County, 600 loans were given totaling $236,400,000. Doctors offices, restaurants, breweries and construction companies were just some the businesses to receive funding. 

What is the Paycheck Protection Program?

PPP is a loan program authorized by the CARES Act and funded by the SBA. The program covers payroll costs and other eligible expenses so small businesses can keep their workforce employed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If requirements are met, these loans are forgivable, meaning they are not expected to be repaid.

The program began in April 2020 and recently reopened for new applications. Applications are now due by March 31.

PPP First Draw, for loans of up to $10 million, is open to small businesses who have not already received a PPP loan. PPP Second Draw, for loans of up to $2 million, is open to businesses who have previously received a PPP loan.

Who is eligible to apply?

The following businesses and individuals are eligible, so long as they were in operation on Feb. 15, 2020, and either had employees or independent contractors for whom they paid salaries and payroll taxes or were a self-employed individual.

  • Small businesses with a net worth of not more than $15 million and an average net income after federal income taxes for the two full fiscal years before the date of application of not more than $5 million.
  • A tax-exempt nonprofit organization described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), a tax-exempt veterans organization described in section 501(c)(19) of the IRC, a tribal business concern described in section 31(b)(2)(C) of the Small Business Act, and you employ no more than the greater of 500 employees.
  • A housing cooperative, an eligible section 501(c)(6) organization, or an eligible destination marketing organization, that employs no more than 300 employees.
  • A news organization that is majority-owned or controlled by a NAICS code 511110 or 5151 business or a nonprofit public broadcasting entity with a trade or business under NAICS 511110 or 5151, that employs no more than 500 employees.

What if my business is seasonal and was not fully operating as of Feb. 15, 2020?

If your seasonal business was in operation for any 12-week period between Feb. 15, 2019 and Feb. 15, 2020, you are eligible to apply.

What if I own more than one small business?

If you own or control more than one business, be sure to read through PPP’s Affiliate Rules. https://bit.ly/39MTLcL

What can my loan be used for?

Loans can be used to pay up to eight weeks of payroll costs including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent and utilities.

How do I apply?

The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development said you should reach out to your lender to let them know you intend to apply. Submit the application based on the lender’s instructions.

First Draw PPP application: sba.gov/document/sba-form--paycheck-protection-program- borrower-application-form

Second Draw PPP application form: sba.gov/document/sba-form- 2483-sd-ppp-second-draw-borrower-application-form

Don’t have a lender? ACCD strongly encourages you to apply to a local, Vermont lender, like banks and credit unions, Vermont Economic Development Authority or Yankee Farm Credit.

I have additional questions or need help filling out my form. Who can I contact?

The Vermont Small Business Development Center is offering free assistance. Call 802-828-4422.

The ACCD hosted a free PPP webinar on Jan. 13. See the slides and watch the recording. accd.vermont.gov/covid-19/business/paycheck-protection-program-ppp-loans

Every Tuesday and Thursday at 11:30 a.m., the Vermont SBA District Office hosts a webinar on PPP Forgiveness. accd.vermont.gov/covid-19/business/paycheck-protection-program-ppp-loans

Got a question you'd like answered? Send an email to bhigdon@orourkemediagroup.com

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