Op Ed: SBA’s Disaster Assistance to Help Montana’s Small Firms Mitigate Coronavirus Impact
By Dan Nordberg, SBA’s Regional Administrator and Brent Donnelly, Montana District Director
Montana’s small businesses are the fabric of our economy and their success is dependent on the ability to freely market products and services to communities across the state. As Americans face the new reality of “social distancing” measures, our local small businesses are bearing the brunt of that impact and are addressing serious concerns regarding declining customer traffic. In order to assist businesses adversely impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19), and at the request of Governor Bullock, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has been authorized to offer Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) to Montana small businesses in need of working capital and support with operating expenses.
This is not the first time that the SBA has been asked to step forward to help the nation’s small business during times of adversity. Following the events of 9/11, SBA implemented a nationwide disaster declaration that supported and saved thousands of businesses from failure. Over the years, the agency has helped communities recover from major hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and fires. Feel assured that the SBA has the time-tested experience to effectively and expeditiously implement this disaster loan program on a national basis.
SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance per small business and can provide vital economic support to small firms to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75 percent for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75 percent. SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay. The application process, as well as information on assistance available to impacted communities in Montana, can be found on our website: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.
SBA’s disaster loans are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response, and the agency is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible. For additional guidance on how small businesses can plan and respond to coronavirus (COVID-19), you can find our published resource guide on www.sba.gov. America’s national economy is dependent on a healthy and vibrant small business community and SBA is committed to doing everything we can to support America’s entrepreneurs during this challenging time. For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center at 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail email@example.com. Remember to follow us on Twitter @SBArockymtn.
(Dan Nordberg serves as the SBA’s Region VIII Administrator based in Denver. He oversees the agency’s programs and services in Colorado, Montana, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming)
(Brent Donnelly serves as the SBA’s Utah District Director based in Helena. He oversees the agency’s programs and services in the state)