West Michigan group helps businesses apply for loans

Coronavirus

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The COVID-19 pandemic has many small businesses applying for loans to help them during the financial crisis.  

According to Tamara Davis, who is the regional director of the Michigan Small Business Development Center at Western Michigan University, there’s hope through federal, state and local programs.

“There’s a City of Kalamazoo loan program, there is a loan program through Battle Creek Unlimited,” Davis said.

The SBDC helps business owners navigate available resources and find which programs best fit their needs.

The federally backed Payroll Protection Program loan is available through many banks and credit unions and must be used over an eight-week period.

“If you use your loan amount, 75% of it for payroll, that the whole amount that you are allocated is forgivable,” Davis said.

Chris O’Neill, owner of One Well Brewing in Kalamazoo, applied on April 3 and was approved on April 8. He is now waiting for a closing date to find out when the money will arrive.

O’Neill applied through his existing bank, which the SBDC says can greatly speed up the process.

“With some of these labor dollars picked up, this is now an opportunity for us,” O’Neill said.

The brewery has started offering takeout and been able to keep some employees working at reduced hours.

According to a new survey from the Brewers Association, 46% of small brewers say they will only be able to survive one to three months under current financial conditions and social distancing requirements. You can review the survey results on brewersassociation.org.

Another popular federal program is the Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, which requires businesses to apply directly to the SBA.

“A small business can actually get up to a $10,000 grant and an additional $15,000 working capital loan,” Tamara Davis said.

The Michigan SBDC at WMU says it’s working to help as many businesses as possible.

“We have an uptick of about 300% in client demand right now,” she said.

The SBDC says businesses can apply for both programs and decide later if they want to use them.  

To find more available resources available, go to wmich.edu/smallbusiness.

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