PPP assistance is specifically helping small businesses with less than 20 employees for the next two weeks

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Biden Administration is expanding PPP assistance today to make it easier for super small businesses to qualify for aid, without competition from larger businesses.

Many small businesses across industries have been hit hard from statewide pandemic restrictions and closures which caused 27% of Washington businesses to close their doors, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For some, these closures are temporary; for others, they had to shut down for good. But, these next weeks are vital for any small business that’s still struggling because they’re the main focus for the Small Business Administration. Only businesses with fewer than 20 employees are eligible to apply for the loans during the next 14 days. Alisha Benson, CEO of Greater Spokane Inc., says this expansion is another resource so many small businesses need to survive.

“As the pandemic carries on, the need for the continued evolution of the lifelines for our small businesses is really critical, and so this is yet another example of the ability to create a new lifeline for these small businesses who desperately need it,” Benson said.

Krista Christofferson co-owns The Viking and had a crew of 13 hardworking employees before COVID hit. They had to close their doors when the second shutdown in Washington rolled around this past November and just opened back up for business last Monday. When they were closed, PPP assistance was a saving grace for the business.

“We just missed out on so much, and thankfully the PPP loan gave us something to fall back on,” Christofferson said. “It saved us. It made it to where we could bring everyone back and not have to worry so much.”

Small businesses have faced different setbacks and issues during the pandemic that many chains and larger corporations could avoid.

“Whether or not they’ve been able to actually keep their employees employed, we’ve seen challenges around their ability to have enough resources to be able to pay their utility and their leases and rent on the places that they’re working,” Benson said. “All of those things have been adding up as the pandemic has drawn on.”

Many small business are still worrying about these struggles, but this two week period is meant to help more businesses qualify for aid because many still haven’t. In Washington, only 53% of businesses received a loan or grant to make payroll, the Bureau also reports. However, now’s the time to apply if you haven’t yet and are still struggling. Experts and owners say it’s worth a try.

“They’ve [small businesses] made it this far, so take the opportunity to engage with yet another lifeline that might just be the thing that allows them to be here in this next chapter,” Benson said.

“I would recommend it to anybody if they can,” Christofferson said.

Greater Spokane Inc. has members on staff and resources you can use if you need any help maneuvering the application process for a PPP loan.