Pulling together when faced with challenges is nothing new to Texans. We know it’s imperative that we share knowledge and resources to help everyone get through these uncertain times. It’s why we created this hub of resources for businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, including information on the benefits made available through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
We’ve weathered many storms, and together, we’ll weather this one too.
Business Assistance Resources
Provisions in the CARES Act include the Paycheck Protection Program, economic injury disaster loans and small business debt relief for existing Small Business Administration loans. A summary of these programs is available through Congress’ The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act and an FAQ regarding the Payment Protection program can be found here.
Due to the cap in funding, small businesses are encouraged to begin preparation now for the Paycheck Protection Program application. Small businesses and sole proprietorships can apply now, and independent contractors and self-employed individuals will be able to apply starting April 10.
SBA Program Comparison – America’s SBDC has created a new spreadsheet which compares all of the currently available SBA programs, including the EIDL (Economic Injury) and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). You can access it here.
Additional national and local resources include:
- Paycheck Protection Program Resources
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce
- U.S. Small Business Administration
- Society for Human Resource Management
- Rural Business Development Grants
- Facebook Small Business Grants Program
- State of Texas
- Governor’s Economic Development Office
- Office of the Texas Governor
- Texas Economic Development Council
- Texas Workforce Commission
- Texas Association of Business
- Texas Restaurant Association
- Texas Department of Agriculture
If you’re applying for financial assistance from the Paycheck Protection Program, you will be asked to provide a copy of your most recent utility bill. You can obtain a copy of your recent bill by logging into myEntergy or myEBUSINESS. If you don’t have an account through either platform, click here to register (Entergy account number needed). If you have trouble registering, need your account number or need additional assistance, call 1-800-ENTERGY and an agent will help assist you with the registration process or obtain a mailed copy of your bill.
Employers and employees may also be interested to know that the U.S. Department of Labor recently provided additional guidance regarding paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave benefits under the Families First Coronavirus Act. And as it relates to filing income taxes, both the federal and state governments have extended the filing deadline to July 15.
Although there is a lot of helpful information and resources available, remain aware and don’t fall victim to scams. In this graphic, the U.S. Office of Inspector General provides several tips on avoiding grant fraud, loan fraud or phishing.
Regional Groups Getting Creative
As they always do, our regional economic development allies have risen to the challenge to support small businesses in our communities.
For example, several have either hosted or scheduled webinars that include accountants and tax experts sharing tips and tools on navigating through the pandemic. Here are some existing or scheduled webinars that may be of interest to you:
- Greater Houston Partnership – Schedule of Small Business Webinars
- The Small Business Administration - Houston District Office
- The Texas Workforce Commission
- Texas Department of State Health Human Services
Economic development marketing firm DCI has published COVID-19: Place Marketing Resources for Response and Recovery, a webpage designed to offer tools for economic development and tourism offices that are looking for effective ways to conduct outreach during the Coronavirus outbreak. The Marketing Tools section includes topics on how to adapt an economic development marketing program and address the pandemic in your destination.
And for reference, the following regional organizations are among those supporting economic development efforts across the state, with some providing resources for small businesses during the pandemic:
Greater Houston/Brazos Valley Area
- Bremond Chamber Of Commerce
- Burleson County Chamber of Commerce
- Calvert Chamber of Commerce
- Cleveland Chamber of Commerce
- Coldspring Chamber of Commerce
- Conroe / Lake Conroe Chamber of Commerce
- Conroe Economic Development Council
- East Montgomery County Improvement District
- Greater East Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce
- Huntsville Walker County Chamber of Commerce
- Madison County Chamber of Commerce
- Navasota Grimes County Chamber of Commerce
- Polk County Chamber of Commerce
- The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce
- The Woodlands Area Economic Development Partnership
Golden Triangle Area
- Anahuac Chamber of Commerce
- The Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce
- Bolivar Peninsula Chamber of Commerce
- Bridge City Chamber of Commerce
- Buna Chamber of Commerce
- Dayton Chamber of Commerce
- Groves Chamber of Commerce
- Kountze Chamber of Commerce
- Liberty-Dayton Chamber of Commerce
- Lumberton Chamber of Commerce
- Nederland Chamber of Commerce
- Nederland Economic Development Corp.
- Newton Economic Development Corp.
- Orange County Economic Development Corp.
- Port Arthur Economic Development Corp.
- Port Neches Economic Development Corp.
- The Greater Orange Chamber of Commerce
- The Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce
- Port Neches Chamber of Commerce
- Silsbee Chamber of Commerce
- Silsbee Economic Development Corp.
- Sour Lake Chamber of Commerce
- Tyler County Chamber of Commerce
- Vidor Chamber of Commerce
- Winnie Chamber of Commerce