In Philly, organizations partner to assist minority-owned businesses in applying for federal funding

    By Ayana Jones

    PHILADELPHIA — Five local organizations are encouraging minority-owned businesses to be prepared to apply for the next round of Paycheck Protection Program funding.

    The African American Chamber of Commerce PA, NJ, DE, Asian American Chamber of Commerce Greater Philadelphia, Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Urban League of Philadelphia and The Enterprise Center have partnered to launch the “Get Your Documentation Ready NOW” campaign.

    The initiative comes as President Donald Trump has signed into law a new $900 billion pandemic relief package. The package includes $284 billion for first and second forgivable PPP loans and set asides for PPP lending through community-based lenders like Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs).

    Minority-owned businesses were largely excluded from the first round of funding designed to assist businesses financially impacted by the pandemic. The campaign spearheaded by The Enterprise Center aims to arm entrepreneurs with the tools needed to ensure any additional small business loans are equitably distributed among all companies.

    Ian Lawrence, senior director at The Enterprise Center said it is likely that the second round of PPP funding will have two additional requirements — businesses must have 300 or fewer employees and they must provide evidence that their revenue has dropped 30 percent or more, as a result of COVID-19.

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    “Because minority-owned businesses have historically struggled to gain access to private capital and federal funding, it’s essential that they’re prepared to apply for the next round of PPP loans,” he said in a news release.

    “That means having financial statements, payroll documents, and other paperwork in order and completed. If Black and brown businesses do not take these steps in the coming days, they may be shutout of government funding again.”

    The partnering organizations are providing support for small businesses who need help compiling and preparing the required documents for when the U.S. Small Business Administration opens the next PPP application window. Businesses are urged to consult their accountant/bookkeeper and prepare 2020 financial statements, review the document checklists that were released prior to previous rounds and assemble their 2020 payroll documentation.

    “Our businesses face significant challenges to receive grants and loans to stay in business due to a lack of financial and digital literacy,” said Narasimha Shenoy, founder and president and CEO of Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia.

    “Language barrier is an additional hurdle to overcome. Expenses like rent, utilities, and taxes continue to hurt businesses during this time with little or no income. Their financial liability is mounting. They need urgent assistance in the form of grants and low interest long-term loans to survive. We join the team of business service providers to help black and brown businesses to recover and again be the engine of economic growth of Philadelphia.”

    To sign up for assistance visit https://www.theenterprisecenter.com/capital/signupnow

    Ayana Jones is a reporter for the Philadelphia Tribune, where this story first appeared