TAMPA, Fla. — Small businesses in the Tampa Bay area struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic are anxious to find relief in the second round of federal funding through the Paycheck Protection Program, which opened up Monday.
"We had to lay two people off after the first round of PPP did not come in,” said Greg Ross-Munro.
As head of Tampa-based software engineering company, Sourcetoad, Greg Ross-Munro said the decision to cut his staff was the hardest thing he's had to do. However, when the federal Paycheck Protection Program ran out of money a few weeks back, he had no choice.
"We got our application in on the first day...So, our banker had told us pretty much we were a shoe-in, and then we never heard anything again,” he said.
This led Ross-Munro to Pilot Bank, a small lender in Tampa.
"I was very happy to hear yesterday we were approved for a PPP loan, so that was a huge weight off our shoulders," he said.
Natasha Goodley of White & Black Consulting said working with smaller banks when larger institutions are not able to process a loan application for the PPP is a smart move.
"Find the smallest financial institution that you possibly can and apply there,” she said.
Goodley went through the process herself. She applied in the first round and did not immediately receive funding, but went to a smaller bank and got help. "I received an email from my bank this morning that my PPP program had been approved,” she said.
Part of her success was in having her financial data organized.
"Regardless of whether you've done your 2019 taxes or not, you need to pull together at least a draft of what your 2019 finances look like and make certain you have all of your schedules,” she said.
Lastly, don't wait to start the application because the money goes fast--and when it's not around, it hurts.
"We laid off two and we cut salaries across the board. Thirty percent of the highest and about five percent of the lowest. That not getting the first round of PPP made a huge impact on my business and on people's lives,” said Ross-Munro.
There's $310 billion in this second round of federal funding for the Paycheck Protection Program. However, the president of the American Bankers Association tweeted yesterday about problems with the SBA's application system. He said until that's fixed, banks will still have problems getting money to small businesses that need it.
There is other federal loan assistance made available through the Small Business Administration’s coronavirus relief program. To learn more, click here.
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