Update to EIDL

Major enhancements to the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program  have been announced!

 EIDLE is a federal disaster relief loan designed to better serve and support our small business communities still reeling from the pandemic, especially hard-hit sectors such as restaurants, gyms, and hotels.

Program Updates

  • Increasing the Lending Cap: The SBA will lift the COVID EIDL cap from $500,000 to $2 million. Loan funds can be used for any normal operating expenses and working capital, including payroll, purchasing equipment, and paying debt.
  • Implementation of a Deferred Payment Period: The SBA will ensure small business owners will not have to begin COVID EIDL repayment until two years after loan origination so that they can get through the pandemic without having to worry about making ends meet.
  • Establishment of a 30-Day Exclusivity Window: The SBA will implement a 30-day exclusivity window of approving and disbursing funds for loans of $500,000 or less. Approval and disbursement of loans over $500,000 will begin after the 30-day period.
  • Expansion of Eligible Use of Funds: COVID EIDL funds will now be eligible to prepay commercial debt and make payments on federal business debt.
  • Simplification of affiliation requirements: The SBA has established more simplified affiliation requirements to model those of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

About the COVID EIDL Program

In response to COVID-19, small business owners, including agricultural businesses, and nonprofit organizations in all U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and territories can apply for the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). The purpose of EIDL is for small businesses to meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred.

How to apply

Eligible small businesses, nonprofits, and agricultural businesses in all U.S. states and territories can apply. Visit www.sba.gov/eidl to learn more about eligibility and application requirements. The last day that applications may be received is December 31, 2021. All applicants should file their applications as soon as possible.

 

If you need assistance applying call us at 872.304.2785.

Small Business Employees Can Get Money to Reduce Their Payroll Taxes

Small Business Employees Can Get Money to Reduce Payroll Taxes

Through the American Rescue Plan, a number of critical tax benefits are being offered to small businesses to help with employee retention and paid leave credits. Available to small businesses who have seen a decline in revenues due to COVID, the employee retention credit of up to $28,000 per employee allows businesses to offset their current payroll tax liabilities.

Employee Retention Credits (ERC)

In 2020, the ERC was a tax credit against certain payroll tax that is not only 50% of the

wages up to $20,000 with a $5,000 cap per employee, but if the amount of the tax credit for an employer is more than the amount of the employer’s share of social security tax owed, the excess is paid directly to the employer.

Having been extended to the four quarters of 2021, the maximum tax credit has increased to $7,000 per employee per quarter, and the level of qualifying business disruption has been reduced so that there is a 20% decline in gross receipts during a single quarter. File amended payroll tax forms to claim the 2020 credit to receive your tax refund alongside the benefits from 2021.

Businesses that took out the PPP loan can still claim the 2020 ERC but the wages cannot be used to apply for PPP loan forgiveness. If your payroll costs were more than the amount covered by your PPP loan, you may be able to claim tax credits for those additional payroll costs.

Key Documents

Employee Retention Credit 2020 & 2021 One-pager

Employee Retention Credit Snapshot

Employee Retention Credit Quick Reference

Paid Leave Credits (PLC)

The availability of paid leave credits has been extended through September 2021 for businesses with fewer than 500 employees through the American Rescue Plan. Businesses can take dollar-for-dollar tax credits equal to wages of up to $5,000 if they offer paid leave to employees who are sick or quarantining. Under the law, businesses were required to provide paid sick leave and paid family leave to their employees as part of the CARES Act in 2020 and were entitled to a tax credit equal to 100% of the leave provided.

While it is no longer required to offer paid leave to employees, if a business does provide paid leave, then you can still claim these dollar-for-dollar tax credits for wages up until September 30th, 2021.

Key Documents

Paid Leave Credit 2020 & 2021 One-pager

Paid Leave Credit and COVID Relief

Paid Leave Credit Snapshot

To learn more contact our partner, The Joseph Center, Melissa Duff Brown, 708.697.5341 mbrown@jbs.edu

Illinois Celebrating Black Business Month in August

BLACK-OWNED BUSINESS MONTH

To honor the contributions of Black-owned businesses across the state, the State of Illinois, with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) announced the celebration of Black Business Month by highlighting a series of events and initiatives taking place throughout the month of August. 

“Supporting Black business owners and entrepreneurs is important for the health of our communities and for restoring the Illinois economy following the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor JB Pritzker. 

Illinois has over 132,000 Black-owned businesses, comprising 11 percent of all Illinois businesses, and yet these business owners have historically experienced barriers in accessing capital and other key business resources. To show their appreciation, this month-long celebration invites Illinoisans to events like “Shop Black-owned Business Saturdays” along with partnering with community leaders and enterprises throughout the state to discuss the opportunities for the community available in the upcoming “Back to Business” recovery assistance program through the ARPA. 

“Under Governor Pritzker’s leadership, the State of Illinois is committed to an inclusive business environment that helps businesses owned by people of color compete and thrive,” said Acting Director of DCEO, Sylvia Garcia. 

• August 11th:  Advancing the Development of Minority Entrepreneurship?(ADME): Achieving Success with the Illinois SB Network 

Presented by DCEO and the Illinois SB Network, Advancing the Development of Minority Entrepreneurship (ADME) is a workshop for business owners to learn more about the State’s expansive business development center network – one of the largest in the nation with over 40 SBs, 9 PTACs, 9 ITCs. During this panel, business owners can learn how these community centers which are available on a year round basis can support new and existing businesses take their vision to the next level with planning, technical assistance, marketing, and more – all at no cost. To register, (LINK HERE).

• August 18th: Navigating the Pandemic: Resources to Help Black Businesses Survive and Thrive

DCEO-OMEE will host a group of business leaders to discuss how to leverage funding and grant opportunities to get on the road to recovery from the pandemic. Attendees will learn about technical support offered through community navigators who are on the ground listening and responding to your needs. To register, (LINK HERE).

• August 25th: Building Back Better: Charting Economic Recovery for the Black Business Community & Crafting the Roadmap for Access to Capital for Black Entrepreneurs

DCEO is teaming up with Groupon and community leaders to host a conversation with Acting DCEO Director Sylvia Garcia and leaders in business around access to capital and how they can foster an ecosystem of success. Also joining are Ron Busby, President, US Black Chamber of Commerce; Don Thompson, Founder and CEO, Cleveland Avenue; Eva Brown, Segment Leader, U.S Bank; Don Cravins, COO, National Urban League; Stephen Davis, Founder and Chairman, The Will Group. To register, (LINK HERE).

All events are free to attend. For more information on National Black History Month events planned for businesses, contact Matthew J. Simpson, the African American Business Development Manager, at Matthew.Simpson@illinois.gov or to learn more about ongoing resources and programs for businesses, follow DCEO on social media @IllinoisDCEO.

PPP Direct Forgiveness Portal: Open Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Forgiveness Portal: Opens Wednesday, August 4, 2021

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is launching an application portal on Wednesday, August 4, 2021 to allow borrowers with Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans $150,000 or less to apply for forgiveness directly through the SBA.

The application portal is a streamlined, simple pre-filled application– PPP Borrowers who qualify will be able to submit their forgiveness application directly on the portal, instead of through their lender.

This initiative will ultimately rush relief to 6.5 million small businesses.

Lenders are required to opt-in to this program – borrowers can check if their lender is participating by referencing this list.

  • The SBA is standing up a PPP customer service team to answer questions and directly assist borrowers with their forgiveness applications.  Borrowers that need assistance or have questions should call (877) 552-2692, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. EST.

Resources on the SBA PPP Direct Forgiveness Portal:

Optimize the Benefits of Your Social Media

Tips on keeping your post organic
• Aim to use 3-5 hashtags per post
• Consider the time and day you post

Tips for growing your followers
• Find people who share your companies values/interests
• Comment, like, and share their posts
• Follow them or add them as friends

Tips on communication
• Address questions or concerns in comments or direct messages in the same day 

Social media can be an incredibly helpful marketing tool to advertise your business. The constant cycle of information online allows your business to be seen by those who otherwise may never have come across it. While social media can be an easy way to increase exposure, there are some ways to optimize its benefits. Here are a few tips to make sure your social media marketing strategy is the best it can be. 

  1. Keep your posts genuine
    In an environment where you communicate through captions, it can be hard to make a social media post sound sincere, especially with the prominent use of hashtags. Hashtags can increase your exposure so you want to use them, but too many hashtags are a lot for a consumer to process. You want to find a balance and use about 3-5 hashtags per post to keep it simple.
  1. Schedule the creation and publishing of posts
    You should have a schedule of what you want to post and when. This schedule will give you more time to interact with consumers and other companies online rather than spending a lot of time creating posts. Also, consider what day and time you post because the timing of a post can impact how many people see it. You want to take advantage of online traffic patterns.
  1. Grow your following 
    The more followers you have, the more exposure you get. You want to create an online network of people and companies that have similar values and interests. Those hashtags mentioned before are what allow you to find the right people to engage with. Once you find those people, interact with their posts to get their attention. Like, comment, and share their posts to show your interest in them and they may reciprocate. Follow or add them as friends to establish a line of communication.
  2. Take advantage of every feature a platform has to offer
    Most social media sites nowadays give you more than one way to post content, like how Instagram has posts and stories. You want to use those other features as much as you can because a profile of diverse content can bring in a larger audience. It also keeps the audience you already have engaged in your content. 
  3. Communication with consumers is key
    Consumers interested in your business will reach out with questions or concerns in a variety of ways. Either through a Direct Message or the comment section of a post, you want to respond to their comments within the same day. A good response time will show that you are involved in the online community you have created and want the best for your consumers.

Critical Financial Tips to Maintain Your Business

  • Categorize expenses as best as possible for budgeting and tax purposes
  • Meet with your accountant at least quarterly to know your numbers
  • Use billing systems to automate and organize your receivables
  • Proactively negotiate terms with vendors to increase cash flows
  • Review your financial statement monthly

Staying on top of your finances is important to keeping your business on track. If you are organized and proactive with monitoring your money, you are giving your business what it needs to succeed. Now, saying you need to keep your money organized is easier said than done, so here are some ways you can maintain your finances. 

  1. Hire an accountant and bookkeeper who can actively partner with you. Having a bookkeeper is key to helping you with budgeting, preparing for tax season, and overall staying organized. 
  2. Work with your bookkeeper to correctly use your Charts of Accounts. This will allow you to properly track important data points about your business. 
  3. You want to categorize your expenses as best as possible. If you have the details of what you are going to spend money on, it will be easier to budget for the future. It will also prepare you for tax season. 
  4. It’s best to meet with your accountant on a regular basis. You should meet at least quarterly so you can keep track of your numbers and maintain steady plans for the future. 
  5. Using a billing system is a great way to monitor your money. If you have a billing system in place, you can automate and organize your receivables. Everything is in one place, and the automation aspect takes some weight off your shoulders. 
  6. Be proactive with vendors. If you proactively negotiate with your vendors you can increase your cash flow. That increased cash flow means more for you to expand your business. 
  7. You should regularly review your financial statements. By reviewing your statements monthly, you can easily see where your business stands financially. A consistent habit of looking at statements can prevent you from overspending and allow you to budget for the future. 

Accounting and bookkeeping are critical to maintaining your business. If at any point you don’t properly budget, you overspend, or you run out of cash flow, your business is at risk of going bankrupt. Financing can be a daunting task, but if you use organization tips like the ones above you will have no problem with it. All you need to do is find a schedule and system that works for your business. Tools like these give your company the chance to thrive without the stress that so often comes with managing money.

Non-Profits: Apply & Help Support Small Business Recovery

***Application for eligibility is now closed. 5/24/21.

As part of Cook County’s Community Recovery Initiative, Cook County established the Small Business Assistance program in 2020 to help address the impacts of COIVD-19.  Through the program and its 35+ partners, thousands of businesses have received free services to support resiliency and recovery. Cook County plans to expand the program and provide technical assistance to assist with recovery through the remainder of 2021.

Cook County seeks to identify 20+ organizations to join our network and further aid the recovery of small businesses. We encourage small business organizations located in Cook County to apply. Representatives from business support organizations, government and philanthropic communities will evaluate statements of interest. Selection criteria include the following factors:

  • Experience with delivering technical assistance to small businesses
  • Service area and/or sector focus
  • Ability to reach businesses within Cook County (note: only organizations that reach suburban Cook County can receive Cook County CARES Act funding, but we are actively seeking additional funding for organizations located in Chicago),
  • Prior performance in a program where applicable
  • Capacity to service business during this challenging time

If selected, your organization will be invited to participate in a County-wide network and qualify for funding. Selected partners in the initial round will receive detailed information about responsibilities and the grant period by Jul 1, 2021, but we will seek to invite additional partners over time as we raise additional funding.

Essential Information and Dates: 

Please complete this interest form by noon on Monday, May 24 to be eligible for consideration. Questions may be directed via either of the following channels. We will aggregate all questions into FAQs that will be updated and shared below.

  • Information session: We will host an optional information session on Thursday, May 13 from 3-4pm CT.  Please access through the link provided.
  • Most organizations will receive $15,000 to deliver outreach services to promote resources available for small businesses. A smaller subset of qualifying partners will receive at least $50,000 to provide technical assistance to small businesses.
  • All partners receiving County funding will need to incur expenses by December 30, 2021.
  • We plan to monitor additional sources of funding that will allow the continuation of activities beyond 2022.

If you have questions or can’t attend the information session, please email info@cookcountysmallbiz.org. All questions will be summarized in a document and shared via our listserv.

FAQs  

(last updated: May 18)

Eligibility

1. Can for-profit businesses receive funding as partners of the program?

  • This program is designed to provide funding to non-profits that provide support services to businesses. For-profit businesses are not considered eligible.

2. Are there funds available for organizations that only serve businesses in the city of Chicago?

  • Currently, we have funds in place for organizations that serve businesses located in suburban Cook County. We aim to build a network that provides support throughout Cook County, including city of Chicago. We encourage Chicago-serving organizations to complete the interest form to be considered for future funding as it becomes available.

Interest Form

3. I was not able to attend the optional partner information session, what was discussed?

  • During the information session, we provided an overview of the program, partner roles and financial reporting questions. To view the materials from the session, click here.

4. Is there a way to preview the interest form?

  • Yes, please click this link to preview the interest form.

5. The interest form asks to upload supplemental documents. Is this required, and what sort of documents should be uploaded?

  • Uploading supplemental documents to your interest form is optional. We encourage interested organizations to upload any documents to support their application such as impact reports, program brochures, or anything else you would like evaluators to know that was not captured in the interest form.

6. What should I do if I forgot to include something in my interest form or if there is something else that I would like evaluators to know about my organization?

Partner Types

7. What are the roles and responsibilities of different partner types?

  • To view detailed roles and responsibilities of partner types, please view page 3 of the interest form preview.

8. On the preview of the interest form I see that there are some questions that are required for organizations interested in the Technical Assistance Provider role that are not required for organizations interested in the Referral Partner role. If my organization is interested in both partner types, do I need to do an application for each?

  • No. If your organization is interested in both partner types, choose “either partner type” on question 10 of the interest form. If you choose that option, all required questions for both partner types will appear in the form.

9. Can an organization serve as a Technical Assistance Provider and a Referral Partner? Can an organization receive funding for both roles?

  • No, the role of Technical Assistance Providers encompasses the responsibilities of Referral Partners as well as other responsibilities around technical assistance for BSOs, which is reflected in funding. Organizations can only participate in the program as one partner-type.

10. How many businesses are Technical Assistance Provider partners expected to serve?

  • Technical Assistance Partners are expected to hold 15 one-on-one business advising sessions per full-time employee dedicated to the project per week. Those 15 appointments can be made of new or existing clients of the program.

11. How will Technical Assistance Provider source and receive clients through the program?

  • All program partners will support outreach efforts that will drive prospective small businesses to a centralized intake platform. The program coordinator will match Technical Assistance Provider partners to clients through the platform.

12. How should Technical Assistance Provider partners staff the program?

  • If selected as a partner, Technical Assistance Providers will be expected to dedicate a minimum of one full-time equivalent (FTE) staff member or contractor to the program. Some Technical Assistance Providers may receive funding for more than one FTE, but this would only be expected if partners agreed to this during contracting.
  • Technical Assistance Providers should expect to reserve several hours a month for executive-level staff to provide program oversight and administration.
  • Other staffing considerations may include several hours each month for marketing, or administrative team members.
  • Costs from any personnel or contractors associated with this program are eligible program-related expenses. Financial reports will ask that partners include the percent of time that each associated staff person spends on this program.

Paycheck Protection Program – Extended Through May 31, 2021

Paycheck Protection Program

***Closed as of 5/31/21.

PPP is working for you.  PPP has been extended through May 31, 2021.  Lenders are open and accepting applications.

PPP’s funding formula has been revised for sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals to receive more financial support.

Additional critical changes have helped to increase equity and access to PPP funds for more small business owners, including:

  • Ensure access for non-citizen small business owners who are lawful U.S. residents by clarifying that they may use Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) to apply for relief.
  • Revised loan calculations for sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals to receive more financial support.
  • Elimination of exclusionary restrictions preventing applicants with prior non-fraud felony convictions from accessing funds.
  • Elimination of exclusionary restrictions preventing applicants who are delinquent on their federal student loans from accessing funds.

We have 3 partner organizations — Illinois Business Immigration Coalition, Southland Development Authority, and Illinois Restaurant Association — that will provide guidance such as: PPP Process, understanding eligibility, & document collection. To apply, contact your local CDFI or bank.  You can also reach out to our lending partner Lendistry.

Sign Up: Help is Here!

Toni’s Tips, Cook County Businesses to Support

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – it’s Small business Week.  Join Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle as she shares

Toni’s Tips, a list of Cook County businesses to support.

We’re inviting small businesses to celebrate with us. Small business week is a time to support one another, learn about beneficial programs designed to support you, and tell your small business story.  Toni has been traveling the county to listen and share the inspirational stories of our small business owners.

Enjoy Toni’s Tips!

 

Old Fashioned Donuts – 11248 S. Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL

A staple in Roseland, for over 45 years, Old Fashioned Donuts reigned over by Mr. B is affectionately referred to as the “Donut King”. Stop in for a giant apple fritter.

 

 

 

 

Aztec Dave’s – 2300 S Throop, Chicago, IL  (for pickup order ahead)

Aztec Daves focuses on authentic Mexican recipes and ingredients derived from their own grandmother and adds a modern twist. Priding themselves on the freshest ingredients and top-quality marinated meats. Everything is homemade and prepared fresh daily; from the flame-grilled meats to our original salsas. Start with the Taco Azteca.

 

 

 

Da Book Joint – 430 E. 162nd St, Ste 747, South Holland, IL  

Da Book Joint is a #BlackWomanOwnedBusiness born on the #Southside of #Chicago committed to literary growth and the positive engagement of the youth.

Verlean Singletary, owner of Da Book Joint is dedicated to the development of our country’s youth – support her mission.

 

 

 

The Looking Glass – 823 S Oak Park Ave, Oak Park, IL 

Proudly, “not just another used bookstore!”, The Looking Glass offers a wide variety of gently used books but also a variety of gift options. Stop in for book-related gifts, unique gift options created by local artisans and a wide array of greeting cards. 

If you’re near Oak Park, consider joining the book club. 

 

 

 

Rise and Dine – 102 S. Milwaukee Ave, Wheeling, IL 

Skillets, french toast and omelets, oh my! Rise and Dine serves up traditional American breakfast food with a brunch that will have you coming back time and time again. 

The crew at Rise and Dine pride themselves on serving only the freshest ingredients and, importantly, having ample parking available. Bring your friends and family – Rise and Dine is safely, open for business. 

 

 

 

Old School Records – 413 Des Plaines Ave, Forest Park, IL 

If you know the magical sound of vinyl, you just know. Old School Records in Forest Park pays homage to the classic sounds and progression of music. Stop in for records, tapes and CDs to take an audible trip down memory lane. 

 

 

 

 

Coffeessions – 820 Wheeling Rd, Wheeling, IL 

Coffeessions is a high-end coffeehouse intended to leverage a niche market through the offering of a combination of specialty coffee, a wine bar, soups and healthy convenient meals on the go.

The coffeehouse offers hot and cold beverages, including specialty coffees, U.S. regional wines, teas, pastries, breads, snacks, energy-dense food options, soups and desserts. Visit them in Wheeling for a warm treat.

 

 

Da Book Joint – 430 E. 162nd St, Ste 747, South Holland, IL 60473

Da Book Joint is a #BlackWomanOwnedBusiness born on the #Southside of #Chicago committed to literary growth and the positive engagement of the youth.

Verlean Singletary, owner of Da Book Joint is dedicated to the development of our country’s youth – support her mission.

 

 

WBDC: Start Planning Your Business for Recovery in 2021

***Application for eligibility is now closed. 

Looking to Pivot Your Business into Recovery for 2021?

Most businesses have been negatively affected by the pandemic, especially small businesses. If you are a Solopreneur or a small business (< 2 years), and are looking to pivot, reinvent your business, find new customers, learn ways to deliver your service or product differently, you should consider Plan for Recovery!

Start Planning for Recovery Today!

This intense 6 session hands-on workshop will help you:
· Identify your strengths
· Identify new markets
· Define new ways of operating
· Identify opportunities and create new strategies
· Minimize future losses and recover faster
· Protect your business and establish continuity plans
· Come up with a plan for the future

When?
May 2021 Dates
Mondays and Wednesdays 10, 12, 17, 19, 24, and 26
9:00 am – 11:00 am, CDT

Where?
Via Zoom

Application Deadline:
May 3, 2021

Apply Now!

For more information, please contact:
orodriguez@wbdc.org

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