The State of Massachusetts has an extensive list of resources for small businesses to help them cope with the unprecedented disruptions they may be facing due to the Covid 19 pandemic. Below, we have put together a list of other helpful resources where small business owners can go for information for assistance with issues related to the Covid-19 outbreak.
January 11, 2021 Update from
Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
One Ashburton Place, Room 2101
EXTENSION OF BUSINESS RESTRICTIONS
Last week, Governor Baker, Lt. Gov. Polito, and I made an announcement related to the extension of temporary restrictions for businesses. The capacity limits and gathering restrictions announced in December (and slated to expire on January 10th) will be extended until at least January 24th. Please see mass.gov/reopening for additional details regarding this extension.
DEPARTMENT OF UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE (DUA) GUIDANCE
DUA is currently implementing unemployment-related provisions from the most recent federal stimulus. Key details on these programs can be found here to assist claimants with questions about their continuation of benefits.
STATEWIDE INTERNET CONNECTIVITY PROGRAMS
Last week, the Baker-Polito Administration announced three new programs to boost internet connectivity statewide, including a subsidy program to assist job seekers in the MassHire system that are facing a technology barrier. In addition, the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) at the MassTech Collaborative will expand a WiFi hotspot program statewide, delivering free high-speed access points to Gateway Cities, helping expand internet accessibility in areas hard-hit economically by the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more about these programs in the recent press release.
MGCC’S SECTOR-SPECIFIC BUSINESS GRANT PROGRAM
A reminder that the Sector-Specific Business Grant Program will stop accepting applications at the end of this week (January 15th). Please continue to remind businesses in your memberships about this opportunity and deadline.
PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM UPDATES
The Small Business Administration recently released new guidance governing the reopening of the Paycheck Protection Program. This guidance comes in the form of an Interim Final Rule, Interim Final Rule on Second Draw PPP Loans, and Guidance on Accessing Capital for Minority, Underserved, Veteran, and Women-Owned Business Concerns. In addition, see the press release for highlights of the programmatic changes made to PPP via the recently-passed federal stimulus.
Several key program changes include:
- Allows past recipients to receive a "Second Draw" from PPP
- Makes 501(c)6 nonprofits (like Chambers of Commerce) eligible applicants, among other types of organizations
- Allows borrowers to set their covered loan period to any length from 8-24 weeks to allow additional flexibility
- Expands what is a eligible forgivable expense to include costs, including adaptive operations expenditures, property damage costs, technology operations, supplier costs, and worker protection expenditures
- Clarifies that PPP loans are tax-free and eligible expenses paid with PPP proceeds are tax-deductible
- Caps First Draw loans at $10 million and Second Draw loans at $2 million
- Allows Accommodations and Food Service businesses to obtain loans calculated at 3.5x average monthly payroll
As with prior implementations of PPP, businesses can apply for a forgivable loan via SBA lenders and should speak to their lender to discuss an application. Effective today, community lenders (community development financial institutions, minority depository institutions, certified development companies, and microloan intermediaries, more here) are able to offer PPP loans to applicants that have not yet received a loan; on January 13th, these lenders will be able to offer loans to “Second Draw” applicants. All lenders will be authorized to offer the program shortly; the date has not yet been announced. For additional information on PPP, forms and other information, visit www.sba.gov/ppp.
VACCINE ROLLOUT PLAN
The Department of Public Health has published a plan for distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, along with updates on the status of the rollout in Massachusetts. See here for information related to the vaccine; you can also sign up to receive updates on the vaccine here.
October 22, 2020
Baker-Polito Administration Announces Partnerships for Recovery, $774 Million Economic Recovery Plan
BOSTON — Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced a $774 million comprehensive plan to stabilize and grow the Massachusetts economy. The plan focuses on getting people back to work, supporting small businesses, fostering innovation, revitalizing downtowns and ensuring housing stability. Partnerships for Recovery begins today by directing $115 million in new funding to small businesses and Main Streets hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and for workforce training efforts. Additionally, the Administration is aligning multiple funding sources, both existing and proposed, to appropriately respond to the crisis.
Partnerships for Recovery supports five key recovery efforts:
- Getting Massachusetts back to work
- Supporting small businesses
- Revitalizing downtowns
- Supporting housing equity and stability
- Fostering innovation
Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, Labor and Workforce Secretary Rosalin Acosta, and Administration and Finance Secretary Michael J. Heffernan joined Joe Kriesberg, President and CEO of the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations to announce the plan at the Gardner Auditorium.
“This plan represents a comprehensive strategy to get people back to work and to support the small businesses hit the hardest by the pandemic, putting the Commonwealth on a path to recovery,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “By leveraging existing tools and programs and implementing new ones this plan will allow us to make critical resources and assistance to those who need it most available now.”
“While we continue to combat this pandemic, this plan takes an approach that addresses key needs of the businesses in downtowns and main streets, provides housing support for vulnerable families, and opens new doors for people seeking to return to work,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “While we acknowledge we still have a ways to go, this plan will help to jumpstart our innovation economy and position Massachusetts to be on a path for success.”
- Putting $115 million to work right away for small businesses and workforce training, including more than $25 million to get people back to work;
- Directing $323 million in existing capital programs as part of the response to continue doing more of what works;
- Filing for $122 million through the Revised H.2 budget to supplement existing funding in support of struggling Main Street businesses and skill building for residents;
- Steering $43 million in Federal, trust and other state funding toward our most critical needs; and
- Committing $171 million to keep people safely housed during the pandemic.
Getting People Back to Work
In order to get people back to work, new investments are being made to build workforce skills, growing training programs and pathways, forging new partnerships between employers and workers, and supporting internet connectivity to facilitate remote work and online career advancement. The more than $25 million available now includes:
- $10.4 million to engage Massachusetts employers by expanding workforce partnerships with large employers in target sectors to create aligned statewide training-employment pathways;
- $9.2 million to subsidize internet for low-income populations, and to expand hot spots in unserved and underserved communities;
- $3.2 million to modernize MassHire virtual pathways to assess and connect UI claimants to appropriate services and supports;
- $2 million to bolster manufacturing training by purchasing a standardized virtual training program to increase workforce for the manufacturing sector; and
- $300,000 to supplement $8.4 million toward Career Technical Institutes in H.2 to help close the skills gap for skilled technician jobs and align training to industry needs.
An additional $54 million is available to support workforce recovery efforts through existing programming such as the Skills Capital Grants program, the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund, and the Workforce Training Trust Fund.
Revised House 2 also proposes $17.9 million in workforce funding, including $8.4 million in funding to transform vocational high schools into Career Technical Institutes running three shifts per day. This initiative is designed to train 20,000 new workers over four years in skilled trades and technical fields including plumbing, HVAC, manufacturing, and robotics. This will consist of a combination of enrolling more high school students in high-impact vocational trade programs and expanding capacity for adults to earn industry-based credentials, aligned to apprenticeships and post-secondary degrees.
"These funds will provide critical re-employment services to our workforce, helping people make the transition from unemployment benefits to good paying jobs in some of the Commonwealth's key long term job growth sectors," said Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Rosalin Acosta.
Direct Support to Small Business and Main Street
To generate economic growth amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and support Main Streets across Massachusetts, the Administration is investing $322.8 million in direct support of small and diverse businesses and local communities. This funding includes grants (see details below) to the hardest hit small businesses, especially small businesses owned by women, minorities, veterans, or members of other underrepresented groups. These grant awards will allow small businesses to cover expenses such as rent, payroll, and utilities as they get back on their feet. Additional funding will support small businesses through hands-on and personalized technical assistance, including targeted support for women- and minority-owned businesses around digital and online technology as their business model pivots away from a brick-and-mortar location.
Many communities have seen their Main Streets and downtown districts hit particularly hard by the pandemic, and new funding aims to help cities and towns plan for short-term innovations and long-term recovery. A new $10 million round of the Shared Streets and Spaces Grant Program will continue to help cities and towns quickly implement or expand improvements to sidewalks, curbs, streets, on-street parking spaces and off-street parking lots in support of public health, safe mobility, and renewed commerce in their communities. Separately, local recovery planning grants will soon be available to cities and towns to assist with long-term planning for their business districts. A total of $10 million is available for this program.
To support the museums and other cultural facilities that have faced a particularly challenging reality this year, but remain a cornerstone of what Massachusetts offers to visitors, these institutions will be eligible for $10 million in Cultural Facilities Operating Grants. This funding will help these organizations to make safety improvements and other upgrades to allow them to continue to offer their unique attractions and exhibits.
As part of this recovery plan, the Governor’s recently filed revised budget proposal recommends over $100 million in additional funding for economic recovery and development efforts, including $35 million for community development financial institutions (CDFI) grants and loans, and $15 million for matching grants for capital investments by businesses with 20 or fewer employees. Additionally, more than $115 million in existing capital through programs such as MassWorks, and those in the MassDevelopment portfolio (Brownfields Redevelopment Fund, Site Readiness Program, Transformative Development Initiative, and Collaborative Workspaces), will be leveraged in support of economic recovery. This recovery plan complements the Administration’s $275 million economic recovery package, which was announced in June.
Small Business and Main Street Highlights (new funding):
- $50.8 million in Small Business Grants to help the hardest hit businesses;
- $10 million to continue funding the Shared Streets and Spaces Program;
- $10 million for local recovery planning grants to support cities and towns;
- $10 million to support cultural facilities such as museums;
- $8.3 million in small business technical assistance to help businesses access grant programs and loans, as well as help build business management skills, resilience, and other support in navigating pandemic impacts;
- Including $2.3 million to provide personalized technical assistance to woman- and minority-owned businesses;
“Our current circumstances call for a plan with the size and scope to match the urgency we need to address the most pressing challenges we now face,” said Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy. “By targeting vital resources toward these key areas, this strategy will allow us to lay a solid foundation for our path to recovery.”
“During this unprecedented public health emergency, the Baker-Polito Administration is continuing to invest significant resources to support recovery and growth initiatives for small businesses and Main Streets across Massachusetts,” said Secretary of Administration and Finance Michael J. Heffernan. “Through close coordination with federal, state, and local partners – including our Legislative colleagues – we are proud to put forth a plan that thoughtfully invests funds from multiple sources to equip employers with the tools, resources, and supports to help navigate the new COVID-19 landscape.”
“We greatly appreciate Governor Baker’s sense of urgency to move these grant dollars now, while also working with the Legislature to secure additional funds in the state budget and the economic development bill,” said Joseph Kriesberg, President of the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations and Board Member of the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation. “Small business owners have sacrificed to help keep all of us safe and healthy. This initiative is our opportunity to have their back.”
In order to keep people safely in their homes during the pandemic and support small landlords with expenses, the Administration recently announced $171 million in support of the Eviction Diversion Initiative. This comprehensive strategy includes funding to help to cover housing costs such as rent and mortgage payments, invest in new programs around mediation and legal representation, and provide repaid rehousing when a tenant is evicted. Additionally, the Administration continues to invest in the Commonwealth’s stock of affordable rental housing with $121 million in direct subsidies.
Massachusetts has long been a hotbed of innovation and creativity in science and technology, and sectors such as the life sciences and advanced manufacturing are not only critical to the innovation economy, but also continue to contribute to the response to the coronavirus. To ensure we continue to lead in this space, $62 million in existing capital funding through the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, and MassVentures is available to support recovery and growth.
Small Business Grant Program Details
Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC) is administering the Small Business Grants program, with $50.8 million available beginning today. Grant awards range between $25,000 – $75,000, and eligibility criteria and applications are available here.
As part of this grant program, preference is given to small businesses whose owners are women, minorities, veterans, members of other underrepresented groups, or focused on serving the Gateway Cities of Massachusetts, who have been unable to open and those most adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Preference is also given to applicants that have not been able to receive aid from other federal programs, including PPP and other relief related to COVID-19.
The program has two distinct funding “doors” based on business size, with different eligibility criteria, which is available online. Applicants must review the information to determine which program to proceed with applying.
More Information on State and Federal resources can be found on the State's website: COVID-19 Resources and Guidance for Businesses
NEW RESOURCE: FREE ASSISTANCE FOR NON-PROFITS AND SMALL BUSINESSES THROUGH THE NEWLY FORMED COVID RELIEF COALITION. It is a coalition of law firms, non-profits and governmental agencies in Massachusetts offering help to access emergency loans and other sources of relief. Click here to be brought to their website.
The North Shore Alliance for Economic Development is working to assist businesses in the North Shore area including the monitoring, providing and sharing of COVID-19 Virus information from federal, state, local and other sources.
Visit the Small Business Development Center’s website for informational webinars, including archived webinars such as “Business Resiliency Webinar: Keeping the Lights On”
The Greater Beverly Chamber of Commerce is a good resource for information on local events such as webinars that can help local businesses navigate through this difficult time: COVID-19 Greater Beverly Chamber Business Resources
Congressman Seth Moulton has released a guide “How the CARES Act Can Help Your Business” that describes the federal programs and offers advice on how to apply.
The federal stimulus package, referred to as the CARES Act, has infused funds into existing Small Business Administration(SBA) programs and created new programs, including a GRANT program(of up to $10k per business). The SBA is encouraging businesses to submit their application(s) for funds as soon as possible. You can go to their website for more information on how to apply for these funds.
The United States Chamber of Commerce has developed a guide that identifies the programs that are funded through the CARES Act.
Knowing that financial concerns are of great importance for small businesses we also recognize that there are stresses involved with keeping ourselves and our families safe and healthy as we navigate our way through this global crisis. Many organizations have set up websites and are holding webinars to assist local business owners with strategies for coping during this difficult time.
SCORE, a nonprofit organization, dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship. This website has many resources dedicated to the impacts of Covid 19 for small business owners.
Entrepreneur Magazine shares A 10-Point Small-Business Survival Plan for Dealing With the Coronavirus
INC’s website has a list of resources and information on what other businesses are doing during the global pandemic to keep their businesses active and to help others.