Commentary: How SBA Responded in Ohio to COVID-19

By Gil Goldberg, SBA Northern Ohio District Director
CLEVELAND, Ohio – According to SBA Office of Advocacy’s 2020 Ohio Small Business Profile, for the most recent year of small-business reporting, there were 965,576 small businesses in our state, making up 99.6% of all Ohio businesses. 

The 2.2 million employees of these companies comprised 45.3% of all Ohio employees. Small businesses account for 44% of all U.S. GDP, create two-thirds of net new jobs and employ nearly half of America’s workers. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Biden administration and Congress made delivering equitable relief to hard-hit small businesses a top priority. 

The American Rescue Plan Act, signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11 provided additional relief for the nation’s small businesses and industries hard-hit by COVID-19. The SBA Northern Ohio District Office continues to help provide these programs to small businesses in our area. 

We made an increased impact in all communities in the district, with focused efforts for entrepreneurs in disadvantaged communities, female-owned businesses and veteran-owned small businesses.  Here is an update on the accomplishments of these programs:

In response to the continuation of COVID-19 and the delta variant, small business owners and nonprofit organizations can still apply for the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan for shortfalls in working capital.  This 30-year term loan at a concessionary interest rate – 3.75% fixed for businesses and 2.75% fixed for nonprofits – has no prepayment penalty or fees.  There is also an 18-month moratorium on payments of principal and interest; interest does accrue during that period.  This program is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 31.
 
As of July 29, nationwide there were 3.8 million EIDL loans approved, with a combined value of over $236 billion. More than 86,600 Ohio COVID-19 EIDL loans were approved at a dollar amount of over $5 billion. 
 
The Targeted EIDL Advance and Supplemental Targeted Advance are for the hardest hit businesses and non-profits, and are funds that do not need to be repaid.  As of July 29, 7,127 Ohio small businesses received a Targeted EIDL Advance, totaling $60,095,000.  More than 5,406 Ohio small businesses also received a Supplemental Targeted EIDL Advance, totaling $27,030,000.  Apart from the Targeted EIDL Advance and Supplemental Targeted EIDL Advance, in 2020, 129,501 Ohio EIDL recipients received a total of $479,911,000 in EIDL Advances, which did not have to be repaid. 
 
The Paycheck Protection Program has provided nearly $800 billion to 11,823,594 applicants.  Small businesses received the help required to remain open and employ the country’s workforce. In 2021, 32% of PPP loans went to low-and-moderate income communities. 96% of PPP loans went to entities with fewer than 20 employees, and such loans averaged $42,000, indicating the program provided relief to the smallest organizations.  In 2021, 218,210 Ohio small businesses and nonprofits received a total of over $9 billion.
 
The $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund provided relief to more than 100,000 U.S. restaurants and other food and beverage businesses. Significant funding went to the hardest-hit, underserved businesses. The average size of grant awards to applicants was $283,000. In Ohio, 2,829 restaurants, bars and other similar businesses were approved, with an average funding size of $206,961.
 
The live entertainment industry was devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. As of Aug. 2 the SBA has made a decision regarding 97% of all Shuttered Venues Operators Grant program applications.  Nationally, $6.9 billion has been disbursed, with an average grant size of $772,000, and $4.61 billion was awarded to businesses that employ 50 full-time employees or less.  In Ohio, 318 entities received over $228 million through the program.
 
SBA offers debt relief to existing SBA loan borrowers whose businesses have been impacted by COVID-19.  Many thousands of businesses that had SBA loans approved up to September 27, 2020, saw SBA make six or more months of installment payments on their behalf, helping them get through the worst of the pandemic period.  Moreover, SBA debt relief extends to new SBA-backed loans approved from February 2021 through September 30. These newer loans have received or will receive up to three months of installment payments as long as funds remain in the program. 

For more information on SBA Northern Ohio programs and services, please visit us on our webpages at SBA.gov/oh/cleveland.  Follow us on our Twitter page for the latest local and national SBA updates. You may also call us at 216 522 4180.  Our staff are available from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. In partnership with you, we look forward to a prosperous future for the economy of northern Ohio.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.