We understand that there is a lot of uncertainty and many questions at this time. There are also many resources and a lot of information coming out. In order to best serve the small businesses of Alexandria, we will be compiling information and resources for small businesses on this page.
Updated as of 7/20/2021
Virginia’s “Return to Earn” Grant Program
The Return to Earn grant program will match bonuses made by eligible small businesses up to $500 for new hires.
Unemployed Virginians are facing a variety of childcare, transportation, and other barriers to returning to the workforce while some small businesses are struggling to find workers. To support Virginians in their transition back to employment, Governor Ralph Northam will invest $3 million to pilot the Return to Earn Grant Program.
The initiative will match up to $500 that a qualifying small business pays directly to a new employee hired on or after May 31, 2021 to support their transition back to employment. Funds will only be reimbursed for new hires in positions that pay at least $15 per hour and qualify as W-2 employment, either full- or part-time. Qualifying small childcare businesses, who may be facing particularly challenging workforce shortages, may qualify for up to $500 per new hire without the requirement to match.
To learn more and to apply, go to https://workforcecouncil.arlingtonva.us/governors-return-to-earn-initiative/.
Virginia ABC Laws
July 1st, the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) began enforcing new laws passed by the Virginia General Assembly during its 2021 session. This includes:
- Allowing localities to create special large outdoor entertainment districts where consumption of alcohol would be allowed.
- Allowing restaurants to continue selling cocktails to go, a holdover from the pandemic.
- Cocktails to-go will be allowed until July 1, 2022. Mixed drinks to-go must cease at 11pm, wine and beer to-go must cease at midnight
- Allowing wine and beer to continue to be delivered without a delivery permit until January 1, 2022.
- Nonprofit groups will be allowed to conduct virtual fundraising events, including the sale and shipment of wine in closed containers.
Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF)
This was a grant program. The Restaurant Revitalization Fund stopped accepting applications and had depleted its funds the week of May 24th, 2021.
For more information on the program visit sba.gov/restaurants.
Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG)
This is a grant program. The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) sets aside $15 billion for entertainment venues that were forced to close during the pandemic. Many of the provisions are similar to those found in the PPP loan program; but this is a grant fund with no repayment being required. The SBA continues to roll-out updates on the Shuttered Venue Grants (SVOG) program, the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant application portal reopened on Monday, April 26 at 12pm ET. Applicants may continue to register for a new account. View this recorded webinar for an overview Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) Overview and Instructions for IRS Form 4506-T. For more specific information on the program visit the SBAs webpage on the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant. Awards for the program are currently being notified for those in the first, second, and third priority groups.
Based on SBA guidance, the terms and conditions of the grant are as follows:
- Applicants must have been in operation as of 2/29/2020
- Venues in operation on 1/1/19 are eligible for grants equal to 45% of their 2019 gross revenues, up to $10 million
- Venues that opened after 1/1/19 the grants will be fore the average monthly gross revenue for each full month in operation in 2019 X 6, up to $10 million
- There will be a priority ranking system in place:
First Priority: 1st 14 days of grant awards, for entities that suffered a 90% or greater revenue loss between April 2020 through December 2020 due to the COVID pandemic
Second Priority: 2nd 14 days of grant awards, for entities that suffered a 70% or greater loss of revenues during this same period
Third Priority: beginning 28 days after 1st and 2nd priority awards are made
Supplemental Funding: after 1st and 2nd priority groups are funded, for any 1st or 2nd round funding recipients that suffered at least a 70% revenue loss for the most recent calendar quarter (as of 4/1/21 or later)
Grantees will be required to maintain documentation demonstrating their compliance with eligibility and other requirements of the SVO grant program. Employment records must be maintained for 4 years following receipt of the grant, and all other records must be maintained for 3 years.
Eligibility: All Applicants:
- “Eligible entity” includes a wide range of venue operators, promoters, theatrical producers, live performing arts organization operators, museum operators, motion picture theater operators, and talent representatives
- Applicants must have been in operation on 2/29/2020
- If an entity was not in business during 2019 but was fully operational on 2/29/2020 it is eligible if it can show the required level of revenue loss. The SBA will apply different analysis criteria in such situations; namely, firms not operating in 2019 may qualify for a SVOG if their gross earned revenues for the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th quarter of 2020 demonstrate a reduction of at least 25% from their gross earned revenues from the 1st quarter of 2020
- Eligible entities must have fixed seating. Temporary seating venues are not eligible
- Venues can be indoor or outdoor
- Mobile entities with no fixed performance space are not eligible for a SVOG, nor are drive-in movie theaters, for they do not have fixed seating
Disqualifying criteria include:
- Applicant does not operate primarily in the US
- Not in operation on 2/29/2020
- Is a publicly traded corporation or is majority owned and controlled by a publicly traded company
- Provides either live performances or sells products or services of a prurient sexual nature
- More than 10% of its 2019 revenues came from the federal government (excluding disaster assistance)
- The applicant that has locations in more than 1 country, operates venues in more than 10 states, and has more than 500 employees as of 2/29/2020
To get ready for the application process the following is recommended:
- Register for a DUNS number so applicants can register in the System for Award Management (SAM.gov)
- Gather documents that demonstrate the number of employees and monthly revenues to determine average number of employees over prior 12 months. Also, determine the extent of gross revenues earned and amount of loss between 2019 and 2020. Floor plans, contract copies, and other supporting documentation will be required to apply for a SVOG
- SVOG applicants must register in SAMS. Other forms of taxpayer identification are not acceptable (individual EIN, business EIN, etc.) The information below can be used to assist obtaining a DUNS number and registering in SAM.gov.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Relief
The Paycheck Protection Program closed May 31st, 2021. The PPP was a loan program, however, if you used at least 60% of your PPP loan to cover payroll costs than you may be eligible for your PPP loan to be forgiven. We recommend discussing with your accountant and lender regarding the PPP forgiveness process.
There is PPP loan forgiveness information on the SBA website here.
PPP Forgiveness Factsheet can be found here.
Targeted EIDL Advance
This is a grant program. The Targeted EIDL Advance provides businesses in low-income communities with additional funds to ensure small business continuity, adaptation, and resiliency. Advance funds of up to $10,000 will be available to applicants in low-income communities who previously received an EIDL Advance for less than $10,000, or those who applied for an EIDL Advance but received no funds due to lack of available program funding. Applicants do not need to take any action. SBA is reaching out to those who qualify. All communication from SBA will be sent from an official government email account ending with @sba.gov. Please do not send sensitive information via email to any address that does not end with @sba.gov.
For more information on the Targeted EIDL Advance program visit the SBA webpage here.
Changes to EIDL Program
In the Economic Aid Act of March 2021, there were also several notable changes to the EIDL program that merit noting. These include:
- The amount of the EIDL advance will no longer be deducted from the amount of PPP debt forgiven
- EIDL first advances will no longer be considered taxable income
Miscellaneous Changes to SBA Programs and Tax Policy
The Economic Aid Act of March 2021 included a plethora of changes to existing SBA and other programs that will benefit small businesses. These include the following:
- The Employee Retention Tax Credit was expanded in the following ways:
- The program was extended through June 30
- The decline in gross receipts has been decreased from 50% to 20%
- The tax credit, originally 50% of up to $10,000 in qualified wages (approximately $5,000 per employee) has been increased to 70% ow qualified wages, or up to $10,000 per quarter
- The employee size of companies has been increased from 100 to 500
- Businesses can now claim the tax credit and a PPP loan
- A good breakdown of the Employee Retention Tax Credit for restaurants can be found here.
- SBA loan debt relief extension:
- New and existing 7(a), 504, and microloans will receive an additional 3 months of principal and interest relief, capped at $9,000 per borrower per month, starting in February
- Businesses in hard-hit industries will receive an additional 5 months of relief
- The SBA will also cover the principal and interest payments on new loans approved between February 1st and September 30th, also capped at $9,000/month
- SBA guarantees:
- SBA guarantees will increase to 90% and will waive borrower and lender fees on 7(a) and 504 loans
Webinars for More Information
Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) Overview – presented by Virginia SBDC
Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Application Informational Webinar – presented by SBA
COVID-19 Relief Legislation details are worth following closely, and we’re encouraging business owners to:
- Sign up for webinars – we have links for upcoming programs and for recordings of past programs above and here
- Contact your banker
- Consult with your accountant
- Keep checking this Alexandria SBDC webpage for updated information
VA 30 Day Fund
The nonprofit Virginia 30 Day Fund provides forgivable loans up to $3,000 to small businesses in need. It was launched by Virginia technology entrepreneur Pete Snyder and his wife, Burson. Working with other business leaders throughout the Commonwealth, the Fund’s goal is to help save as many Virginia jobs as possible while small businesses await recently approved federal funding.
Virginia businesses that qualify for assistance from the Fund are:
- For-profit small businesses that employ three to 30 people;
- Based in Virginia and have been operating for at least one year;
- Owned and operated by a Virginia resident.
To learn more about the VA 30 Day Fund click here.
REBUILD! VA Grant Program – CLOSED 12/9/2020
The Rebuild VA Grant Fund is a program to help small businesses and non-profits whose normal operations were disrupted by COVID-19. The Grant Program allocated all $100 million in funds and is now closed. For the full press briefing click here. To get updates on this grant program you can sign up for alerts and give feedback for the program on their home page here.
EIDL – ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOANS
The EIDL applications re-opened for new applicants only on June 15, 2020. For more information on this loan program see https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/economic-injury-disaster-loans.
RECOVERY RESOURCES FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
As Virginia businesses and communities look forward to safely reopen, the Virginia SBDC network and Alexandria SBDC have developed the Business Recovery webpage to help owners carefully plan for and execute their businesses’ new strategy.
These detailed guidelines cover a broad range of critical considerations. While business owners can use them by themselves, they were designed to ideally be used in collaboration with Alexandria SBDC’s Business Analysts. The guidelines are set forth in three sections: REVIEW, RESET, AND REVIVE. As a first step, we encourage you to carefully examine the questions and resources under each section. At that point, contact Alexandria SBDC at email@example.com to schedule a virtual meeting with an Alexandria SBDC expert consultant for objective feedback on your questions and ideas. As a reminder, all services of Alexandria SBDC are without cost.
The Alexandria SBDC’s confidential one-2-one consultations have a solid track record of helping business owners through such deliberations. We also have contacts in the community that can help you make opportune connections.