TwispWorks is working overtime to stay on top of the emerging opportunities to support local businesses, non-profits, independent contractors, sole proprietors and the self-employed, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
TwispWorks staff are currently contacting every business to provide resources, training and materials to help them secure state and federal assistance.
If you are a business with questions about which program is best for your situation, please email BusinessSupport@TwispWorks.org
Business Owners & Employees!
Please take our surveys for Business Owner’s and Employees. We are gathering information on the financial impacts of Covid, as well as other information to help understand the challenges to our business community and employees of the Methow Valley. The surveys are part of our ongoing Economic Study, due to be shared in November.
Below is a consolidated list of the most relevant resources developed to assist small businesses impacted by COVID-19.
Small Business Support Initiative
Deadline to apply – August 28, 2020 5PM
The Economic Alliance is partnering with Okanogan County to administer a Small Business Stabilization Grant program made possible by federal CARES funding. The County has committed up to $250,000 for small business assistance using federal CARES funding. Grants of up to $10,000 will be awarded to businesses in the county.
The intent of this grant is to assist businesses with eligible expenses incurred beginning March 1, 2020 through the date of their application. For all the details or to request an application email the Economic Alliance
To be eligible a business must:
• Be physically located in Okanogan County
• Be owned by a US citizen or permanent resident alien
• Have been in operation for six months or longer
• Use the grant to maintain or create jobs
• Submit a current business license
• Have had to close or reduce capacity to operate based on the Governor’s orders
• Have lost revenue due to COVID-19
• See Application for additional requirements
Eligible expenses include
• Rent and Mortgage
• PPE Supplies
• Utility Bills
• Consulting Expenses
• Marketing Expenses
• Expenses incurred to accommodate business changes due to COVID-19
• Payroll/Benefits/Health Insurance
• Bills for Taxes
• Capital Expenses
Paycheck Protection Program
July 7th Update – The deadline to apply for funds from the Paycheck Protection Program has been extended to August 8th
For businesses and sole proprietors seeking capital to make payroll, the US Small Business Administration has implemented the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
PPP loans are predominantly aimed at covering payroll costs (75% of the loan) but can be used to address other expenses, including utilities, rent, and interest on mortgage payments. However, not more than 25% of the loan forgiveness amount may be attributable to non-payroll costs. Loans used to cover these costs are 100% forgivable at the end of the eight-week period during which they are used so long as businesses meet all the requirements.
Contact your primary lender to see if they are an SBA approved lender. As of April 3rd, 2020, SBA approved lenders in our region are NCNB, US Bank, People’s Bank, Umpqua, Chase, and Wells Fargo and Washington Federal.
If your bank is not participating in this the PPP you can still apply! People’s Bank and Sunrise Bank are currently accepting applications from non-customers. Intuit is working to create a PPP Loan application through QuickBooks online. Kabbage is currently accepting applications however it is important to note that they are a financial tech company and not a traditional bank.
To understand if you qualify and what information you will need to provide to the bank, refer to the
PPP Loan Forgiveness
JUNE 17th UPDATE
Effective June 17th, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, has posted a revised, borrower-friendly Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness application implementing the PPP Flexibility Act of 2020.
In addition to revising the full forgiveness application, the SBA also published a new EZ version of the forgiveness application that applies to borrowers that:
1. Are self-employed and have no employees; OR
2. Did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%, and did not reduce the number or hours of their employees; OR
3. Experienced reductions in business activity as a result of health directives related to COVID-19, and did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%.
The EZ application requires fewer calculations and less documentation for eligible borrowers. Details regarding the applicability of these provisions are available in the instructions to the new EZ application form.
Both applications give borrowers the option of using the original 8-week covered period (if their loan was made before June 5, 2020) or an extended 24-week covered period.
JUNE 5TH UPDATE – PPP SMALL BUSINESS RELIEF FIX BILL PASSES SENATE
This bill modifies provisions related to the forgiveness of loans made to small businesses under the Paycheck Protection Program implemented in response to COVID-19.
- Extends covered loan period from eight to 24 weeks.
- Ensures full access to employer payroll tax deferment for businesses that take PPP loans.
- Relaxes the requirement that PPP loans be spent on payroll costs from 75% to 60%.
- Provides a ‘rehiring safe harbor’ for businesses to still qualify for loan forgiveness if they are unable to rehire employees due to effects of enhanced Unemployment Insurance.
- Establishes a ‘safe harbor’ for businesses to qualify for loan forgiveness if they cannot return to full business operations due to state orders or restrictions.
JULY 2nd UPDATE
ESD also wants you to know that as the economy re-opens, they will be easing back into the job search requirement. The earliest job seekers will be asked to report job search activities on weekly claims is August 1st, and it will be easier than before the crisis. You can sign up for alerts from the ESD or get more information on their website
MAY 19 UPDATE – FRAUD ALERT
Since the beginning of the month, and especially in the last week, the Employment Security Department (ESD) has seen a significant rise in reports of impostor fraud. As a result the ESD has taken a number of steps to prevent and investigate alleged fraud including holding payments for an additional 1-2 days to further validate claims. Read ESD Commissioner Suzi LeVine’s full statement here.
If you believe you are a victim of impostor fraud report it immediately by clicking here.
APRIL 18TH UPDATE – EXPANDED BENEFITS
The self-employed, independent contractors, and gig workers are now eligible for unemployment. We recommend that you sign up to receive the most timely updates from the ESD.
• The ESD has published a guide to the expanded benefits available for the self-employed. Read this guide and follow the instructions to apply for unemployment. THIS STEP IS REQUIRED BEFORE YOU CAN APPLY FOR THE BENEFITS FOR SELF-EMPLOYED WORKERS.
• Download the Application Checklist for Expanded Pandemic Unemployment Benefits to ensure you have all the required documentation available when you are ready to submit your claim.
• Create your Secure Access Washington (SAW) account to submit your claim. Need help setting up your SAW accounts? Watch this video from the ESD
Employers have a number of a number of options from the Employment Security Department for their employees including SharedWork plans, temporary layoffs, standby and furloughs.
• Learn more about SharedWork Plans
• Learn more tempoary layoffs, standby and furloughs
If individuals call the WorkSource Okanogan office directly at (509) 825-7310, WorkSource staff can help with Basic UI, Pandemic Unemployment and General SAW account questions answered Mon-Fri, 8am – 5pm. They can also Chat Live with a WorkSource Specialist on www.worksourcewa.com.
JUNE 16TH UPDATE
As of June 16th the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has reopened the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance program portal to all eligible applicants experiencing economic impacts due to COVID-19 today
As of May 4th new applications to the EIDL Loan and Advance Program are only being accepted from agricultural businesses.
If you submitted your EIDL application prior to March 30th and have a “2” as the lead number in your application confirmation, you must reapply using a new streamlined application in order for your application to be processed.