But with the second round of P3 loan applications underway, White is just one of many Forsyth County business owners who are happy with the changes to the program in December and feel much more confident to apply for a loan. ready.

“The PPP should really help us get over the hump and get back to the top again,” White said. “Because last year was one of the slowest years I’ve had in 20 years. It has been a scary year. But now I have a little more hope that it will help us.

The Small Business Association opened the program for select lenders last week and officially opened it more widely, accepting applications from all lenders starting Tuesday, Jan.19.

During this time, the program is open to both first-time borrowers and returning business owners who have seen their sales drop at least 25% since the start of the pandemic.

Alex Warner, existing industrial project manager at Forward Forsyth, said he and those at the Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce are working hard to get information about the new CARES law and help small businesses in the county through the process. loan.

Warner has already started giving webinars, available free online to everyone in the business community, to provide information on the second round of PPP loans and to answer questions from business owners on eligibility, loan terms, the application process and resources.

He gave the first webinar on January 21 and plans to host two more on Wednesday, January 27 at 10 a.m. and Thursday, February 4 at 9 a.m. Officials from the Small Business Development Center at the University of Georgia will also help during some of the webinars to answer questions.

The webinars are available live on the Chamber’s website at web.focochamber.org/events.

The House has also worked to send postcards to Forsyth County businesses and House members to share information and let them know that the second round of PPP is available and that the first round is available for new businesses.

“We’re doing everything we can to make sure every small business knows what’s available to them,” Warner said.

The House offered similar help when the loan program was first passed through the CARES Act at the end of March 2020, shortly after businesses began shutting down as the pandemic began. to have an impact on the US economy.

While many struggled to understand the program when it was created, Warner explained that Forsyth County was one of the first communities in the state and even the United States to begin sharing information about the program for small businesses. He started hosting three to four webinars each week and said people from other communities such as Metro Savannah would join them to learn more.

While House members have gone to great lengths to help small business owners as they still have many questions about the changes to the program, Warner said the programming was much clearer than it was during of its launch and he is convinced that this round could help small businesses even more than the first one.

“Banks aren’t shocked by ‘hey, we rolled out this plan’. All your businesses will call on you. Oh and by the way, you have 48 hours to create a portal to get their apps, ”Warner said. “Nine months have gone a long way in facilitating this process.”

Federal lawmakers also made the process more focused on small business owners when they made changes to the program in December.

Regarding loan forgiveness, Warner explained that businesses that borrow less than $ 150,000 now only need to sign a one-page affidavit instead of filing detailed documents to show how they used the loan. , which reduces stress for banks and owners.

More entities and organizations can now apply for the loan, including nonprofits, but the loans will also better help those who have been most affected by the pandemic. For example, those who enter industries such as hospitality, where they have lost most of their business, will see larger loan repayments than in the first round of PPP.

“I believe the way they changed the agenda in this new bill passed in December, that it is much more focused on small businesses and those that have really been affected by the pandemic,” Warner said.

“In the first round all you had to do was say, ‘Hey, I’ve been hit by the pandemic. Give me PPP. ‘This next round, you have to prove it. You have to do a quarterly analysis from 2019 to 2020 showing that you have a 25% deficit. Otherwise, your business survived the pandemic. You should not be entitled to these funds. ”

Businesses have until March 31 to apply for another loan, and information on how to apply is available on both the SBA and the Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce website.

Details on loan cancellation and other P3-related aids will continue to change as lawmakers make final decisions. For up-to-date information on PPP, visit www.together4foco.com. The Together 4 FoCo initiative was started by the Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce to bring residents and businesses together during the pandemic to support each other.

As White begins the process of applying for his second loan, he is reassured and delighted to see the resources available to him and other business owners.

“You look at the little businessman like me who was forced to shut down,” White said. “It’s hard to get out of this. So I’m glad they’re finally looking for the little businessman and we’ve got something to deal with.

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