Resources For NH’s Businesses During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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On Mar. 13, Governor Chris Sununu issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency due to COVID-19. To date, 23 related emergency orders have been enacted.

In issuing orders 3, 4, and 5, the Governor shared, “Tough decisions have been made at the state level, but we will get through this together. Seeing what the lack of an appropriate response has resulted in around the world requires that we make some difficult decisions here in New Hampshire to ensure we stem the tide of this worldwide pandemic within our own communities. We are taking steps to help Granite Staters, ensuring they have the support and services for themselves, their families, and their businesses throughout this crisis.”

While the effects of this virus and related executive orders have numerous impacts on Granite Staters in general, local businesses are particularly hard hit during this time. This does not go without notice and many resources, both federal and state based, have been made accessible during this time.

On Mar. 27, President Donald Trump signed into law a $2 trillion dollar stimulus bill that will provide support to individuals and business impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. This funding is allocated to a variety of sectors. The graphic below, created by NPR’s Audrey Carlsen estimates the breakdown of the third relief bill based on bill text, committee and administration numbers,

Now, the passing of this trillion-dollar stimulus is great for the nation, but what does it really mean for the small business in NH?

Funding

The most recent stimulus bill increases funding options for businesses.

  1. SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program

With the increase in federal funding the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) loan capacity through its Emergency Disaster Loan Program has increased. This pre-existing loan program exists for emergency situations, like COVID 19. Information about eligibility, loans limits, interest rates, and the application process can be accessed at the SBA website.

2. Paycheck Protection Program

Supported by the most recent stimulus bill, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will incentivize businesses who are maintaining their payroll during this national emergency. This program will be implemented through the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Loans through the PPP are meant to be forgiven and will be if all employees are kept on payroll for eight weeks, and the money is used for that payroll (at least 75% of PPP loan funds must go to payroll) and other applicable expenses including interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities.

You can learn more on the PPP web page.

3. EIDL Loan Advance

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EDIL) Advance provides up to $10,000 in economic relief for businesses experiencing temporary difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As explained on the SBA website, “This program is for any small business with less than 500 employees (including sole proprietorship, independent contractors and self-employed persons), private non-profit organization or 501(c)(19) veterans organizations affected by COVID-19.” Successful applicants will receive these funds within days of being approved, and the loan does not have to be repaid.

Learn more online.

4. SBA Express Bridge Loan

The Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program allows small businesses with a current relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly. As explained on SBA’s website, “These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing and can be a term loans or used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan.” This loan will be repaid in full or part from proceeds from the EIDL loan, and is useful “if a small business has an urgent need for cash while waiting for decision and disbursement on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan.”

Learn more online.

Visit https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options to learn about all the funding programs in their entirety.

What resources are available for me, as a business owner, to get a better understanding of what I should be doing during this time?

There are lots of great resources both regional and statewide for business owners.

Loans Resources

If you need more information on some of the loan information discussed above, both the SBA and U.S Treasury are great resources.

  1. NH’s SBA Division Daily Webinars

The NH District Office for the SBA is holding daily webinars at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. to inform businesses about the emergency disaster loan program. For information on how to join in on these training view the NH SBA memo from Mar. 25.

2. Payroll Protection Program (PPP)

For more information on the PPP visit the SBA’s program webpage, or view the U.S. Treasury’s overview. Related, you can also check out the state’s list of approved lenders here.

3. Coronavirus Emergency Loans: Small Business Guide and Checklist

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce provided a helpful 4-page overview of funding options during the COVID pandemic including information on eligibility, what lenders are looking for, what can be borrowed, and which loans will be forgiven. View the resource here.

Operating Resources

  1. New Hampshire Division of Economic Development’s (DED) COVID-19 Business Resource Webpage

The NH DED COVID-19 Business Resources webpage links to information on a variety of topics, like unemployment and layoff information, employee/public health, and other state and federal resources.

2. Small Biz Resource and Adaptation Guide

Local business owner, Emmett Soldati (Teatotaller Tea House in Somersworth) created a “Small Biz Resource + Adaptation Guide” that has general advice on little items, like documenting everything during this national emergency, to information on creating or adapting online strategies. 

3. Weekly Small Business Clinic Via Instagram Live 

Teatotaller Tea House owner Emmett Soldati is facilitating a weekly small business clinic via Instagram Live on Mondays at 5 p.m. Each week features special guests and allows for questions and conversation on the evolving business climate. Follow @emmettsoldati on Instagram to tune in. 

4. Online Business Directory Initiatives 

In the past few week multiple online businesses directory sites have been launched as a way for businesses to market their services (if still open) and to encourage gift card purchases and other support for those that are currently closed.  

a. Mighty Small 

Local entities, Strafford Regional Planning Commission included, are working together to create a local business directory site called Mighty Small. The site’s tagline is “How to Patron Your Fav Small Businesses Under New Rules of Engagement.” While the directory portion of the site is not yet live, business can submit their listings here. 

b. Seacoast Gift Cards 

Portsmouth City Councilor Deaglan McEachern started Seacoast Gift Cards, as a landing page for local business to share information on how to purchase gift cards from their respective entities. So far, around 80 businesses are listed.  

c. Explore Moose Mountains 

Explore Moose Mountains is an initiative to promote the WONDERFUL in the Moose Mountains Region of New Hampshire, including Brookfield, Farmington, New Durham, Middleton, Milton, Wakefield and Wolfeboro. Primary promotion of businesses in that area takes place through the entity’s Facebook page The Moose, NH. A Facebook group run by The Moose, NH, Moose Biz 2 Biz, is also a good resource for businesses sharing information with their neighboring businesses. If your business is in the Moose Mountain region and you have information you want share, forward it along to exploremoosemountains@gmail.com. 

5. Online Trainings 

a. “Steps to Take in Getting Through a Financial Crisis” webinar 

The NH District Office for the Small Business Administration will host an online training on Wednesday, Apr. 8 from 3 – 4 p.m. This webinar will cover topics like cash flow, breakeven sales calculations, purchasing and excess inventory, and other SBA resources. Hosted via Skype interested parties can participate by phone by calling +1 (202) 765-1264,888869450# (Dial-in Number) , or via computer using the link https://meet.lync.com/sba123/mamorale/5CBK44B6.  

The Conference ID is 888869450. 

Questions should be directed to Miguel Moralez at miguel.moralez@sba.gov or  603-225-1601. 

6. Other Resources

a. UNH Cooperative Extension 

The UNH Cooperative Extension is updating a resource page addressing the community, business, and economic impacts of COVID-19. This is a great resource for businesses and municipalities to learn about available funding supports and learn about best practices for conducting business and meetings online. 

b. New Hampshire Small Business Development Center 

NH SBDC has also published a COVID-19 assistance page with resources and best-practices for small businesses, with information regarding available assistance programs, advice for managing your business during an economic downturn, and how to promote your business online.  

c. New Hampshire Municipal Association 

This can be a challenging time for businesses who are in the process of seeking state and municipal permits. New Hampshire municipal association continues to issue guidance for municipalities about the impacts of emergency orders on public processes. To learn more about how these processes are impacted please visit NHMA’s COVID-19 resource page 

Resources for Your Employees 

For those businesses that have no choice but to implement layoffs, there are unemployment resources that can be shared with employees. The CARES Act allocated $1.25 billion to NH for COVID-19 relief. This will allow for an extended unemployment insurance program. The state unemployment benefits are being extended by 13 weeks, to 39 weeks in total. 

This funding also supports an increase in the minimum weekly benefit, which was capped at $32/week, and is now at $168/week. The federal funding will allow workers to access an additional $600/week for four months on top of what they are already receiving through the state. There is no additional paperwork outside of the original unemployment filing to access the additional funds. 

These benefits will also be available for those that are self-employed, independent contractors and gig economy workers.  

Due to volume of claims being filed, workers are being asked to file on a specific day, organized by last name. The chart determining days and times can be accessed online. And workers can register for unemployment on the New Hampshire Employment Security site. 

Share Your Story 

Information about the impacts of COVID-19 on local businesses and communities will be essential in planning for the economic recovery. SRPC is working with municipalities and area chambers of commerce to compile data about the economic impacts of COVID-19. To share your story, get in touch with your local chamber of commerce or municipal economic development staff, or reach out to senior regional planner James Burdin at jburdin@strafford.org