Disaster Preparedness Finance

COVID-19 relief funds still available. Here are three sources  

Here’s the lowdown on several relief funding programs still taking applications.

If you live in Miami-Dade, applications are open for a loan that gives priority to small businesses that have not received federal or state stimulus aid to recover from the economic wallop of COVID-19. The RISE Miami-Dade Fund is funded with $25 million from the U.S. CARES Act.

Hundreds of businesses from across Miami-Dade have already submitted applications.

The fund offers loans – up to a maximum of $30,000 — at a 3.25% interest rate and payable in three years. Business owners do not have to make payments during the first three months, nor do they accrue interest. The money can be used to pay rent or working capital.

To be eligible, businesses must have fewer than 25 employees and less than $2 million in annual revenue, have been operating for at least two years and be located in Miami-Dade  Other requirements include a credit score of at least 575 and no bankruptcy filings within the past three years.

To apply, visit risemiamidade.com. For more information, call Fabiana Estrada at Accion, one of the partners in the program, at 305-699-0985.


There’s still time to apply for the  Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) but the deadline is Aug. 8. The federal loan program has distributed nearly $32 billion in forgivable loans to more than 400,000 small businesses in Florida, saving millions of jobs.

The PPP is designed to help small businesses — 500 employees or fewer –  retain employees.  They can use portions of PPP money  for rent, mortgage interest and insurance. The U.S.  Small Business Administration administers the program and  third-party lenders take applications, originate and approve the loans.  If you are interested in applying for a loan, visit SBA.gov/paycheckprotection for a list of lenders and necessary forms to start an application.

Here is a refresher course on the PPP:

  • Eligible businesses can borrow up to $10 million at a fixed interest rate of 1 per cent for a five-year term. The loan is based on payroll costs, and repayment is deferred for six months. No collateral or personal guarantees are required, and no fees will be charged.
  • Recipients must use the loan money within 24 weeks after receiving it. Congress recently extended the forgiveness period from eight weeks.
  • The loan will be fully forgiven if small businesses use at least 60%  of the amount for payroll. Small businesses can use the rest  for expenses such as rent, mortgage payments, utilities and loan interest. Businesses can apply for forgiveness by documenting how it was used. Forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and keeping steady salary levels. Forgiveness will be reduced if full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease.

The SBA is still processing applications for the  Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Loans come with a 3.75% interest rate for small businesses and 2.75% for non-profit organizations, a 30-year maturity, and an automatic deferment of one year before monthly payments begin.  The SBA encourages eligible small businesses and non-profits  to apply here.

Florida SBDC at FIU, the small business development center within FIU’s College of Business,  and other 39 SBDCs around the state stand ready to help with the PPP,  the EIDL and other COVID-related challenges. Visit sbdc.fiu.edu if you are in Miami-Dade or Monroe counties or www.FloridaSBDC.org for other parts of Florida.

As of July 14, SBDC at FIU has helped 250 businesses secure $31.25 million in COVID-19 assistance, including $16.9 million in SBA PPP funds; $9.75 million in SBA EIDL funds (EIDL); and $4.5 million in Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loans.

U.S. lawmakers are currently debating a fourth aid package to support households and small businesses affected by the pandemic, including a potential b, oost to the PPP program.

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