Smallest of small businesses offered exclusive access to Paycheck Protection Program

Posted at 10:09 PM, Mar 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-05 23:22:36-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — In a recent announcement, President Biden said businesses with less than 20 employees and sole proprietors will be given priority for the SBA's Paycheck Protection Program loans.

“As far as in-store sales go, it’s been really tough,” said Kori Waldrup, owner of Zelda boutique in Green Hills.

Despite the help of online sales, business just hasn't been the same. “But as far as foot traffic and people darkening the door, I would say probably half of what it has been in the past,” she said.

That's why she recently applied for and received a second loan from Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program.

“This winter was so slow, you know, and all the numbers were up- nobody wanted to get out, and so it’s kind of come at a perfect time,” said Waldrup.

Now the SBA is prioritizing small businesses like Waldrup’s.

“On February 24th President Biden announced a 14-day window where small businesses with fewer than 20 employees are the only applications that SBA will accept from lenders and will process, and that's to reach the smallest of the small businesses,” said State Director of Tennessee for the Small Business Administration, LaTanya Channel.

That means through 5:00 p.m. Eastern on March 9th those small businesses will be at the top of the application list, but it’s not the only big change.

“Prior to February 24th those really small businesses that used Schedule C- those independent contractors, again your beauticians and barbers- they were limited to only using their net profit which was line 31 for Schedule C. Now they can use gross, so they're now eligible for a larger loan amount,” said Channel.

She adds a common misconception is that loans can only be used for payroll, but they can actually be put towards expenses like rent and PPE equipment too.

Channel said, “so a lot of folks think because they don’t have employees they're not eligible- that's not true. If you're a single-member LLC, if you only get a 1099, if it’s just you- you are eligible for a PPP loan.”

For owners like Waldrup, the opportunity is a lifeline. “I think there is no downside,” she said.

Following March 9th, the SBA will resume evaluating PPP loan applications from all businesses, but the deadline to apply will end at 5:00 p.m. Eastern on March 31st.

Every Monday at 11:00 a.m. Central, the Small Business Administration's Tennessee District office offers an informative webinar about the PPP. You can learn more information about it here.