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Resource Guide: Financial Tools, Aid for Businesses Hurt by COVID-19

New: The Trump administration's guidelines for "opening up America again."

Federal Help:

Paycheck Protection Program Under the CARES Act

The Paycheck Protection Program will encourage businesses with fewer than 500 employees to retain workers and maintain wages through forgivable loans. Businesses will apply for the loans through their banks.

Here's more on PPP:

Federal Reserve's Main Street Lending Program

The Federal Reserve launched a $600 billion lending program to provide liquidity to small- and medium-sized businesses hurt by COVID-19. The Main Street Lending Program offers 4-year loans to companies with up to 10,000 employees or with revenues less than $2.5 billion.

Hogan Taylor LLP has a website about the program here.

The Federal Reserve has posted fact sheet here, including term sheets and related documents.

Internal Revenue Service

The IRS has launched the Employee Retention Credit, designed to encourage businesses to keep employees on their payroll. The refundable tax credit is 50 percent of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially affected by COVID-19.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Finance has a FAQ document on the credit available here.

SBA Debt Relief

The 7(a) program offers loan amounts up to $5 million to small businesses. Uses of the loan proceeds include working capital; expansion/renovation; new construction; the purchase of land or buildings; the purchase of equipment and/or fixtures; lease-hold improvements; refinancing debt for compelling reasons; seasonal line of credit; inventory; or starting a business.

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan

The Small Business Administration is offering Economic Injury Disaster Loan applications.

Small-business owners and nonprofits are eligible to apply online for a low-interest loan due to the coronavirus. The program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million. 

SBA Express Bridge Loans

The Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program allows small businesses that have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 with less paperwork. These loans can provide economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they're experiencing. They can be a term loan or used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan. If a small business has an urgent need for cash while waiting for a decision and disbursement on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, it may qualify for an SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan.

You'll find an Express Bridge Loan Lender via SBA's Lender Match Tool or by connecting to the Little Rock District Office of the SBA.

You can also contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center at (800) 659-2955 or via email with questions.

More on SBA Resources & Loans

America's Small Business Development Centers has created a new spreadsheet that compares all currently available SBA programs, including the EIDL (Economic Injury) and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). You can access it here.

Federal Rescue Plan: CARES

The president signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act on March 27. The $2.2 trillion relief package will provide loans to small businesses, direct financial checks to individuals, expand unemployment insurance and much more. Read a summary of the key provisions of the bill here. And here is a summary for restaurants, courtesy of the National Restaurant Association.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) covers the requirements to provide two weeks of paid sick leave (EPSLA) and the expansion of the Family Medical Leave Act (EFMLEA) to cover child care needs, with a paid leave requirement for this new qualifying event.

State Support:

Quick Action Loan Program

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has created a $12 million Quick Action Loan Program.

Through this, eligible companies may apply for a loan or loan guaranty of up to $250,000. Direct lending is also available.

Small- to medium-sized companies that are in the supply chain of essential goods and services, including health care, food manufacturing and logistics, will be prioritized.

You can contact the AEDC about this program herevia email or by phone at (501) 682-1121 or toll-free at (800) ARKANSAS.

Other Resources:

Arkansas Community Foundation

The Arkansas Community Foundation has created a COVID-19 Relief Fund to direct resources to Arkansas nonprofits disproportionately affected by the coronavirus and its economic fallout. Click here to apply for the grants the foundation is awarding.

The Blue & You Foundation

The Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas is opening its "Rapid-Response COVID Relief" grant process to award up to $1.7 million in grants to nonprofits that have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Applications will be received online only here. Applicants may request grants ranging from $5,000 to $150,000. Applications will be reviewed and funding decisions will be made on a weekly basis. Grants not approved immediately each week will be held for consideration for funding later

Delta Dental of Arkansas

Delta Dental of Arkansas is offering assistance to dental clinics and nonprofits helping commuities during the COVID-19 outbreak. Both efforts are backed by a combined $6.5 million.

The company's "Advance Receipts Program" is for Arkansas dental practices that participate in any of Delta Dental's networks. Practices could receive up to five weekly advances each equal to 40% of the average weekly Delta Dental clinical reimbursement payments made to the practice's Tax Identification Number during 2019. The maximum advance amount to any one TIN will not exceed $40,000. Apply here beginning on April 1, 2020.

The company is also offering a total of $500,000 in grants to Arkansas nonprofits providing assistance or services to address immediate COVID-19-related needs. The limit is $10,000 per organization. Apply here beginning on April 1, 2020.

NextSeed Community Bridge Notes

NextSeeed is offering a special financing product for qualified small businesses to use in a public offering. The NextSeed Community Bridge Note (CBN) will leverage Regulation Crowdfunding rules to provide small businesses with an alternative and efficient way to raise flexible, lower cost, lower fee financing.

The NextSeed CBNs are designed to meet the working capital needs of small businesses during and in the immediate aftermath of COVID-19. More information is available here.

Truist Financial Corp.

Truist Financial Corp., the parent company of McGriff Insurance Services in Little Rock, is committing $1 million to LiftFund to support small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in communities in eight states, including Crittenden County in Arkansas.

LiftFund is a community development financial institution headquartered in San Antonio, Texas.

The money will fund grants ranging from $5,000-$25,000 for operating capital shortages and critical needs. Small businesses in Crittenden County with fewer than 10 full-time employees and that have annual gross revenue of no more than $1 million can apply for the grants online.

University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service

The UA Cooperative Extension Service has set up this website, which pulls together resources for agriculture, families and communities. It includes information about economic impacts on livestock, row crops, specialty crops, agritourism and public policy.

There's also resources for restaurants, produce growers, food banks, farmers markets, farm safety and food safety. Consumers can find information on reducing expenses, stimulus money, personal finance and more.

Better Business Bureau

The Better Business Bureau has set up to answer questions and provide resources for small businesses. Among the topics:

BKD CPAs & Advisors

BKD has created its own website with links to a host of articles and resources. Some resources are grouped by industry. They are:

Signs for Posting at All Businesses

The governor's proclamation (EO – 20 – 13 (3) f) requires all Arkansas businesses to post signs at facility entrances. The State Chamber/AIA created a sign here that businesses can print and post.

DDF Consulting's Pandemic Risk Readiness Checklist

DDF Consulting offers this checklist for financial institutions. It was developed based on CDC guidance and feedback from community bankers. It's designed as a starting point and should be tailored to each bank's situation.

State Department of Health

The Arkansas Department of Health has issued guidance for several businesses, available here. Those include social distancing recommendations for retailers.


The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center is hosting a series of COVID-19-related webinars that include:

  • Applying for the state Quick Action Loan Program

  • Budgeting During An Economic Downturn

  • Access to SBA Programs and Other Funding Options

The Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce is holding its weekly COVID-19 webinar at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 23. It includes Chamber CEO Randy Zook and Dr. Joe Thompson, CEO of the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement. You can register here via Zoom.

City, Local Support

Little Rock A&P Sales Tax-Related Relief

Little Rock's Advertising & Promotion Commission and Convention & Visitors Bureau are offering hotels and restaurants some relief on A&P sales tax remittances.

Businesses have access to a Covid-19 Application for Relief from Penalty and Interest (available here) for the taxable periods covering February, March, April and May 2020. The Covid-19 Application for Deferment and Installment Payment Agreement (available here) offers the three-month deferment option.  

All applications are online at, or businesses can reach Kasey Summerville of LRCVB at via email or by calling (501) 370-3317.

University of Arkansas Small Business & Technology Development Center/Northwest Arkansas Council

The new program provides free services to northwest Arkansas organizations to help them with access to U.S. Small Business Administration and other federal, state and local resources. Some services are available to nonprofits that meet the SBA Office of Disaster Assistance funding requirements.

The services, provided remotely by phone or by video conferencing, will include:

  • Assistance with loan applications

  • Financial reviews

  • One-on-one counseling

  • Market research

  • Educational outreach

  • Business planning

  • Liaison to government agencies and lending institutions

You can get more information on this program here.

Women's Foundation of Arkansas

The WFA has established Women Owned, a fund to help women-owned small businesses experiencing hardship due to COVID-19 through $5,000 grants. The WFA wants the fund, started with money from WFA's own grant pool and the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, WFA's goal is for the fund to reach $100,000 — enough provide assistance to 20 women-owned small businesses in Arkansas.

Applications for the first round of funding are open now and will close at noon on April 13. Grantees will be notified by April 17. You can apply here. You can donate to the fund here.

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