Exploring Your Small Business Relief Options

April 15, 2020
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Between the stimulus package as part of the Federal CARES Act, new SBA loan options, charitable organizations and state/county/city governments, there are many financial aid and business relief resources out there for entrepreneurs who are struggling to get by right now. Whether yours is a small business or a large corporation, you may be eligible for financial assistance if your business has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We encourage you to research all your options to understand how these programs work and if you might be eligible. Since Illumination Wealth is based in San Diego, we want to highlight one of our own local economic assistance programs as a great example of what might be available in your area.

San Diego Small Business Relief Fund 

The City of San Diego established a Small Business Relief Fund (SBRF) in response to the struggles many local businesses are facing because of coronavirus precautions and California’s statewide “shelter at home” regulations. Some businesses have been forced to cut hours and temporarily reduce staff while others deemed non-essential services have had to close down completely until the restrictions are lifted. San Diego County and the City of San Diego also have their own rulings that are affecting businesses right now.

The purpose of the SBRF is to allow businesses to retain employees and sustain operations during and after the COVID-19 crisis. They are offering eligible small businesses grants and forgivable loans (with low or zero interest) to provide working capital in this time of need. At this point, there is roughly $6.1 million available in the SBRF and the funds are being approved and distributed by the City of San Diego Economic Development Department.

Incredibly, more than 6,500 applications were received during the first four days after businesses were allowed to apply. Collectively, the applications received far exceeded the amount already in the fund. They are still accepting new applications, but those cannot be reviewed until the fund is replenished. If there are any San Diego area banks, corporations or individuals out there who would like to contribute, we highly encourage you to do so. Visit the San Diego Small Business Relief Fund website to donate and support our local small businesses in need.

Qualification Requirements

For those with applications already in the queue, be patient as they review everything and distribute loans and grants that will range from $10,000 to $20,000. If you are wondering about your eligibility before submitting a new application, here are some of the requirements:

  • Cannot be a lending/investment institution or insurance company
  • Cannot be a nonprofit organization
  • Cannot be a golf course, gambling facility or race track
  • Cannot be a home-based business
  • Cannot be a chain store
  • Cannot be involved in any illegal business activity
  • Cannot have more than 100 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) employees as of February 28, 2020

Additional Business Relief Options and Resources

Even if you are not eligible for San Diego’s Small Business Relief Fund or whatever local business relief resources are available in your particular area, there may be state and/or federal programs that can help you survive financially. We have put together a list of links and resources in a previous blog post entitled “Helpful Resources for COVID-19 Relief and the Cares Act,” and you can also visit the SBRF page for more resources. Just scroll down to the Additional Economic Resources section to find a ton of information and resources that could be extremely helpful.

Now is also the time to be talking with your business’s financial advisor for professional advice and information about more financial aid programs for which you may be eligible. If you don’t have a business advisor, feel free to contact Illumination Wealth any time to schedule a free introductory financial consultation.