KOSBE ready to help small businesses impacted by COVID-19

Hank Hayes • Mar 30, 2020 at 3:00 PM

KINGSPORT — The Kingsport Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship (KOSBE) is on the frontline of helping small businesses navigate the COVID-19 crisis.

KOSBE can help document the economic injury faced by the business and explore all financing options, including whether the business is eligible for the Small Business Administration disaster loan.

“If you are eligible, we can review the SBA disaster loan application and process with you, so you are fully prepared to submit your own request online (preferred) quickly and with ease,” according to KOSBE. “We can help you brainstorm ideas and develop a plan for recovery and resiliency for your specific business.”

KOSBE Executive Director Aundrea Wilcox noted a number of small businesses in the Model City are feeling depressed and shocked.

“The comfort is it’s happening to everybody,” she said. “Are we the comforter-in-chief? No. We’re here to help people look at their capital sources — all sources, not just loans. A lot of people might be under the impression these are grants or a forgivable loan. This is a loan program with an expected payback. We want them to have a one-page plan for recovery. The disaster loan may not be the product for them. There are other resources they need to explore. We can help them with that.”

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Upon a request received from a state’s or territory’s governor, SBA will issue under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the president, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration.

These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for nonprofits is 2.75%.

SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.

KOSBE is providing the following resources for small businesses:

SBA Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): www.sba.gov/coronavirus.

SBA Emergency Preparation Guide: https://www.sba.gov/business-guide/manage-your-business/prepare-emergencies.

From the Downtown Kingsport Association (DKA), go to the following link for advice and tips on how your business can best deal with COVID-19: https://whizbangtraining.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/whizbang_retail_training_special_report-c19.pdf.

KOSBE is happy to help any business with working through plans or exploring options. Anyone interested can make an appointment with KOSBE using this link: https://tsbdc.as.me/schedule.php?calendarID=1552869 or by calling (423) 392-8811.