Federal SMB COVID-19 Loans and Grants

5 minute read

We have compiled a selection of the top resources for financial relief that are being offered by the Federal government.

Main Street Emergency Grant Program

Proposed by U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), would allow small businesses to apply and receive grants quickly through the Treasury Department.

The Main Street Emergency Grant Program would allow small businesses, including self-employed individuals, and nonprofits to rapidly apply for grants through the Treasury Department to cover fixed costs, including payroll, during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Grant amounts would be based on a percentage of expenses necessary for the survival of the business.

Businesses could spend the money on payroll or other fixed costs, such as rent, that are necessary to keep the business operating.

These grants would turn into loans that would have to be repaid if businesses failed to restore their payroll to 80% of prior levels within 12 months of the termination of the COVID-19 public health emergency, unless the business can demonstrate a hardship that prevented them from doing so.

The Main Street Emergency Grant Program also offers forgivable loans to midsize businesses who are experiencing similar losses. These loans would be forgivable if businesses restore their payrolls to 80% within 12 months of the termination of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

$2 trillion stimulus bill

Late Wednesday night, the Senate unanimously passed the largest economic stimulus package in American history.  The $2 trillion stimulus bill will include a $367 billion program aimed at helping small businesses continue to make payroll.

Paid Sick Leave & Unemployment Aid 

Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act Wednesday evening with the primary purpose of making sure people continue to get paid. It requires employers to provide paid leave for their employees and specifies the differences between how family leave and medical leave are treated. The leave will be reimbursed by the federal government and the legislation includes language that tells the Department of Labor to exempt small businesses with fewer than 50 employees from the paid leave mandates.

SBA Export Loans 

If your business works in international trade, the SBA offers export loans to help respond to challenges like coronavirus and opportunities associated with trade. These loans are applicable to U.S. small businesses that either export directly overseas or export indirectly by selling to direct-exporter customers.

The SBA offers three export loan programs:

  • Export Express, which gives access to capital up to $500,000.
  • Export Working Capital, which provides revolving lines of credit or transaction-based financing of up to $5 million.
  • International Trade, which helps retool or expand to better compete and react to changing business conditions. Contact the SBA for exact loan amounts.

You can learn more about each of these loans on its website.


US Chamber | Mentors to Help SMBs Apply for Disaster Assistance 

The US Chamber has compiled an article outlining the valuable resources that they are offering to help your small business survive the Coronavirus. This includes SCORE which is a program that offers advice and assistance from its business mentors to help SMBs navigate financial challenges and assistance in applying for SBA disaster assistance loans. SCORE has centralized all of its assistance options here.

Paycheck Protection Plan | $349 billion toward job retention

The Paycheck Protection Program established by the CARES Act, is implemented by the Small Business Administration with support from the Department of the Treasury.  This program provides small businesses with funds to pay up to 8 weeks of payroll costs including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities.

The Paycheck Protection Program prioritizes millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $349 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses.

Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, Veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards.

SBIR and STTR | Seed Grants for R&D

Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer grant programs (SBIR, STTR) are competitive grant programs for small businesses with fewer than 500 employees who engage in federal research and development. The program connects small businesses with universities and research centers that have federal grants. Grants are available through multiple agencies such as EPA and the Departments of Energy and Transportation.

SBA  | Express Bridge Loan Program

This program is for small businesses who already have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender. The loans, up to $25,000 are to provide support to overcome loss of revenue or to act as a bridge while applying for an Economic Injury Disaster loan.

FEMA | Lost Wages Supplemental Payment Assistance

FEMA is providing grants to participating states to supplement payment of lost wages for those receiving at least $100 in weekly unemployment compensation as a result of COVID-19. The additional amount individuals will receive depends on the state in which they live. The link here is to a list states approved for the grant, which is updated as new states are approved.

IRS | Employee Retention Credit

This is a refundable tax credit available to employers who experience a significant decline in gross receipts as a direct or indirect result of COVID-19. Eligible employers can reduce by up to 50% the employment tax deposits they would typically be required to make, and if the tax deposits are insufficient to cover the credit, they may receive an advance payment from the IRS.

Federal Employee Education & Assistance (FEEA) | Hardship Assistance Fund

The FEEA offers no-fee, no-interest loans up to $1,000 to federal employees who have exhausted other resources. Those with salaries under $75,000 per year may be eligible for a grant/loan combination.


Small Business Association (SBA) | Debt Relief efforts

The SBA will provide financial reprieve to small businesses by paying six (6) months of principal, interest and associated fees for current 7(a), 504, and Microloans disbursed prior to September 27, 2020. Payments on current SBA Disaster Loans for home and business can be deferred through December 31, 2020.


National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences | Worker Training Program (WTP)

The WTP offers grants to nonprofits, including health and safety organizations, for the purpose of providing training to workers facing a hazardous environment. There are six program areas, including an infectious disease response program.


USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) | Grants for Agricultural and Behavioral Sciences

The NIFA offers grants to support research education and extension efforts across a wide-range of agricultural and behavioral sciences, including health, food science, natural resources and more. This site provides a list of grants and more information and resources for the grant application process.



Stay safe and remain strong in this turbulent time. And remember to check back on this article for updates as details of the above guidance and resources change.


If you have additions that you would like to see on our page please send them to reeves@yahoosmallbusiness.com.