Resource Guide: Financial Tools, Aid for Businesses Hurt by COVID-19

Resource Guide: Financial Tools, Aid for Businesses Hurt by COVID-19

Arkansas Business is regularly updating this page with links and contact information for businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Know of other resources for business? Email us.

New: "Decision tree" guidlines for reopening businesses from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

And:, Arkansas' resource for opening up the state's businesses. Includes links, organized by industry, of reopening guidelines from the state Department of Health.

And: The state Chamber of Commerce's document on best practices for reopening businesses, and a document with key dates for reopening Arkansas' economy.

More: The Little Rock Regional Chamber's guide to communicating with customers as businesses reopen.

Plus: The Trump administration's guidelines for "opening up America again" and the CDC's guidance for supporting those guidelines.

And: The National Restaurant Association's guidelines for reopening restaurants.

Federal Help

Paycheck Protection Program Under the CARES Act

The Paycheck Protection Program will encourage businesses with fewer than 500 employees to retain workers and maintain wages through forgivable loans. Businesses will apply for the loans through their banks.

Here's more on PPP:

Also, on Friday, the SBA, in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, released the Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Application and detailed instructions for filling it out.

The form and instructions can be viewed here.

SBA Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Applications

The U.S. Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness applications are now available.

In addition to issuing a revised full forgiveness application, SBA also published an EZ version of the forgiveness application that applies to borrowers who:

  • Are self-employed and have no employees; OR
  • 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
  • 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%.

Click here to view the EZ Forgiveness Application.

Click here to view the Full Forgiveness Application.

Federal Reserve's Main Street Lending Program

The Federal Reserve launched a $600 billion lending program to provide liquidity to small- and medium-sized businesses hurt by COVID-19. The Main Street Lending Program offers 4-year loans to companies with up to 10,000 employees or with revenues less than $2.5 billion.

Hogan Taylor LLP has a website about the program here.

The Federal Reserve has posted fact sheet here, including term sheets and related documents.

Internal Revenue Service

The IRS has launched the Employee Retention Credit, designed to encourage businesses to keep employees on their payroll. The refundable tax credit is 50 percent of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially affected by COVID-19.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Finance has a FAQ document on the credit available here.

SBA Debt Relief

The SBA will pay the principal and interest of current 7(a) loans for a period of six months and of new 7(a) loans issued prior to Sept. 27, 2020.

The 7(a) program offers loan amounts up to $5 million to small businesses. Uses of the loan proceeds include working capital; expansion/renovation; new construction; the purchase of land or buildings; the purchase of equipment and/or fixtures; lease-hold improvements; refinancing debt for compelling reasons; seasonal line of credit; inventory; or starting a business.

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan

The Small Business Administration is offering Economic Injury Disaster Loan applications.

Small-business owners and nonprofits are eligible to apply online for a low-interest loan due to the coronavirus.

The program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million. 

SBA Express Bridge Loans

The Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program allows small businesses that have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 with less paperwork. These loans can provide economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they're experiencing. They can be a term loan or used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan. If a small business has an urgent need for cash while waiting for a decision and disbursement on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, it may qualify for an SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan.

You'll find an Express Bridge Loan Lender via SBA's Lender Match Tool or by connecting to the Little Rock District Office of the SBA.

You can also contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center at (800) 659-2955 or via email with questions.

More on SBA Resources & Loans

America's Small Business Development Centers has created a new spreadsheet that compares all currently available SBA programs, including the EIDL (Economic Injury) and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). You can access it here.

Federal Rescue Plan: CARES

The president signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act on March 27The $2.2 trillion relief package will provide loans to small businesses, direct financial checks to individuals, expand unemployment insurance and much more. Read a summary of the key provisions of the bill here.

And here is a summary for restaurants, courtesy of the National Restaurant Association.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) covers the requirements to provide two weeks of paid sick leave (EPSLA) and the expansion of the Family Medical Leave Act (EFMLEA) to cover child care needs, with a paid leave requirement for this new qualifying event.

The U.S. Department of Labor has added resources and guidance for the act and other rules around COVID-19 and the workplace. Also:

Wright Lindsey Jennings attorney Stuart Jackson has a quick overview for employers here.

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

The USDA program provides direct relief to farmers, ranchers and other producers whose operations have been directly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, including price declines and additional marketing costs.

The USDA is accepting applications now through Aug. 28.

State Support

Quick Action Loan Program

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has created a $12 million Quick Action Loan Program.

Through this, eligible companies may apply for a loan or loan guaranty of up to $250,000. Direct lending is also available.

Small- to medium-sized companies that are in the supply chain of essential goods and services, including health care, food manufacturing and logistics, will be prioritized.

You can contact the AEDC about this program herevia email or by phone at (501) 682-1121 or toll-free at (800) ARKANSAS.

The AEDC also has a website set up specifically related to COVID-19.

"Arkansas Ready for Business" Grant Program

The $55 million "Arkansas Ready for Business" grant program aims to help businesses as they gradually return to operations. Each business could receive up to $100,000, or $1,000 per employee. They can spend the money on personal protective equipment for employees, hand sanitizer stations, cleaning supplies and services and other one-time expenses related to reopening or resuming normal operations.

Applications are being accepted from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday, May 5, and Wednesday, May 6, at this website. Update: The application period is now closed, with more than 12,000 businesses seeking more than $147 million in grants.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance via Federal Government

Self-employed workers and independent contractors in Arkansas who are out of work because of the COVID-19 pandemic can now apply for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) through the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services here.

Individuals can apply online for the PUA benefits from 6 a.m.-6 p.m. seven days a week. Applicants can also call 1-844-908-2178 from 6 a.m.-4 p.m.

Other Resources

Sam's Club

Local Initiatives Support Corp. of New York, through a $1 million grant from Sam's Club, will provide grants of up to $10,000 to small businesses that have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

LISC will focus on helping underserved communities, such as women- and veteran-owned businesses and businesses owned by people of color.

The grants can be spent on rent and utilities, payroll, outstanding debt to vendors, technology infrastructure upgrades and other immediate operational needs.

Apply here by 10:59 p.m. Tuesday.

Arkansas Black Hall of Fame

The Arkansas Black Hall of Fame Foundation and the Office of Health Equity at the Arkansas Department of Health are providing mini-grants up to $1,000 to help community organizations in black and other underserved populations in addressing food insecurity, housing, household finances, physical and mental health care needs and education of children and families related to COVID-19. You can get more information and apply here.

Arkansas Community Foundation

The Arkansas Community Foundation has created a COVID-19 Relief Fund to direct resources to Arkansas nonprofits disproportionately affected by the coronavirus and its economic fallout. Click here to apply for the grants the foundation is awarding.

The Blue & You Foundation

The Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas is opening its "Rapid-Response COVID Relief" grant process to award up to $1.7 million in grants to nonprofits that have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Applications will be received online only here. Applicants may request grants ranging from $5,000 to $150,000. Applications will be reviewed and funding decisions will be made on a weekly basis. Grants not approved immediately each week will be held for consideration for funding later

Delta Dental of Arkansas

Delta Dental of Arkansas is offering assistance to dental clinics and nonprofits helping commuities during the COVID-19 outbreak. Both efforts are backed by a combined $6.5 million.

The company's "Advance Receipts Program" is for Arkansas dental practices that participate in any of Delta Dental's networks. Practices could receive up to five weekly advances each equal to 40% of the average weekly Delta Dental clinical reimbursement payments made to the practice's Tax Identification Number during 2019. The maximum advance amount to any one TIN will not exceed $40,000. Apply here beginning on April 1, 2020.

The company is also offering a total of $500,000 in grants to Arkansas nonprofits providing assistance or services to address immediate COVID-19-related needs. The limit is $10,000 per organization. Apply here beginning on April 1, 2020.

Arkansas 30 Day Fund

The Arkansas 30 Day Fund, a nonprofit founded by Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her husband, Bryan Sanders, is offering COVID-19 forgiveable loans to businesses that employ three to 30 people; are based in Arkansas and have been operating for at least one year; and are owned and operated by an Arkansas resident.

Apply here.

NextSeed Community Bridge Notes

NextSeeed is offering a special financing product for qualified small businesses to use in a public offering. The NextSeed Community Bridge Note (CBN) will leverage Regulation Crowdfunding rules to provide small businesses with an alternative and efficient way to raise flexible, lower cost, lower fee financing.

The NextSeed CBNs are designed to meet the working capital needs of small businesses during and in the immediate aftermath of COVID-19. More information is available here.

Truist Financial Corp.

Truist Financial Corp., the parent company of McGriff Insurance Services in Little Rock, is committing $1 million to LiftFund to support small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in communities in eight states, including Crittenden County in Arkansas.

LiftFund is a community development financial institution headquartered in San Antonio, Texas.

The money will fund grants ranging from $5,000-$25,000 for operating capital shortages and critical needs. Small businesses in Crittenden County with fewer than 10 full-time employees and that have annual gross revenue of no more than $1 million can apply for the grants online.

Winrock International

Winrock International is providing small business owners in Phillips County with one-on-one guidance on how to navigate funding available through recent federally-approved programs. 

With funding from the Walton Family Foundation, Winrock will provide technical assistance to help these business owners determine their needs, complete forms, draft loan applications, navigate federal assistance programs and decide the next best steps, including follow-up consultations for additional business development needs.  

Winrock launched this pilot project with a two-pronged approach of targeted outreach and dedicated technical assistance available for over 200 small businesses. 

Small business owners interested in receiving assistance can click here to complete a short form. Once submitted, an application assistance specialist will be in touch.

To learn more about the Phillips County Loan Application Assistance Program, click here

University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service

The UA Cooperative Extension Service has set up this website, which pulls together resources for agriculture, families and communities. It includes information about economic impacts on livestock, row crops, specialty crops, agritourism and public policy.

There's also resources for restaurants, produce growers, food banks, farmers markets, farm safety and food safety. Consumers can find information on reducing expenses, stimulus money, personal finance and more.

Better Business Bureau

The Better Business Bureau has set up to answer questions and provide resources for small businesses. Among the topics:

► Advice for Charities and Donors Seeking to Address Coronavirus

► Business Tips: How to Navigate the Coronavirus Crisis

► A Coronavirus Checklist for Businesses

► Sample Telework Policy for Employers, Business Preparedness Checklist for Business

BKD CPAs & Advisors

BKD has created its own website with links to a host of articles and resources. Some resources are grouped by industry. They are:

► Construction & Real Estate
► Health Care
► Financial Services
► Nonprofits
► Higher Education
► Public Sector
► Manufacturing & Distribution

Signs for Posting at All Businesses

The governor's proclamation (EO – 20 – 13 (3) f) requires all Arkansas businesses to post signs at facility entrances. The State Chamber/AIA created a sign here that businesses can print and post.

DDF Consulting's Pandemic Risk Readiness Checklist

DDF Consulting offers this checklist for financial institutions. It was developed based on CDC guidance and feedback from community bankers. It's designed as a starting point and should be tailored to each bank's situation.

State Department of Health

The Arkansas Department of Health has issued guidance for several businesses, available here. Those include social distancing recommendations for retailers.

CDC and OSHA Guidance for Meat and Poultry Processors

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have issued COVID-19 guidance for the meat and poultry industries.


The Venture Center in Little Rock is hosting a “VCChat” on updates to the PPP Loan Flexibility Act from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday. 

Register here

City, Local Support

City of Little Rock Small Business Emergency Assistance Program

The city of Little Rock has created an emergency relief program for certain businesses, funded by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. The fund is for small businesses, including sole proprietorships, corporations and limited liability corporations that have been affected by COVID-19. It allows them to apply for a forgivable loan up to $5,000 at zero interest, with no payments due the first year.

You can learn more and apply for the program here.

Little Rock A&P Sales Tax-Related Relief

Little Rock's Advertising & Promotion Commission and Convention & Visitors Bureau are offering hotels and restaurants some relief on A&P sales tax remittances.

Businesses have access to a Covid-19 Application for Relief from Penalty and Interest (available here) for the taxable periods covering February, March, April and May 2020. The Covid-19 Application for Deferment and Installment Payment Agreement (available here) offers the three-month deferment option.  

All applications are online at, or businesses can reach Kasey Summerville of LRCVB at via email or by calling (501) 370-3317.

University of Arkansas Small Business & Technology Development Center/Northwest Arkansas Council

The new program provides free services to northwest Arkansas organizations to help them with access to U.S. Small Business Administration and other federal, state and local resources. Some services are available to nonprofits that meet the SBA Office of Disaster Assistance funding requirements.

The services, provided remotely by phone or by video conferencing, will include:

  • Assistance with loan applications
  • Financial reviews
  • One-on-one counseling
  • Market research
  • Educational outreach
  • Business planning
  • Liaison to government agencies and lending institutions

You can get more information on this program here.

Women's Foundation of Arkansas

The WFA has established Women Owned, a fund to help women-owned small businesses experiencing hardship due to COVID-19 through $5,000 grants. The WFA wants the fund, started with money from WFA's own grant pool and the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, WFA's goal is for the fund to reach $100,000 — enough provide assistance to 20 women-owned small businesses in Arkansas.

Applications for the first round of funding are open now and will close at noon on April 13. Grantees will be notified by April 17. You can apply here. You can donate to the fund here.

Startup Junkie Foundation

The Startup Junkie Foundation has expanded its Kiva micro loan program to provide an additional $450,000 in matching no-fee, no-interest loan funds to small businesses in Washington and Benton counties.

Approved borrowers will be able to have up to 75% of their Kiva loan matched by the additional funds. A grant from the Walton Family Foundation made this expansion possible.

Contact Martha Londagin at or (479) 276-7096 for more information.

In addition, eligibility for the loans has been expanded, larger loans will be available, there will be a grace period of up to six months for payments, and loan terms are 12-36 months.

North Little Rock COVID-19 Small Business Economic Support Fund

The fund aims to help small businesses and low-to-moderate income households by providing temporary gap financing. See guidelines and apply here.

Other Resources

PPP Loan Forgiveness Rules Provide Clarifications, Flexibility (Cal McCastlain Commentary)

► Force Majeure in Arkansas (Timothy Grooms and Robbi Rosenbaum Commentary)

► Navigating Unemployment Issues When Managing Your Workfroce (Daveante Commentary)

► What Employers Should Know About the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Stuart Jackson Commentary)

► Coronavirus Could Change the Global Supply Chain (Doug Voss Commentary)

► COVID-19 Guidance for Businesses via State Department of Health

► No Dithering! Quick Reaction Saves Businesses (Allen Engstrom Commentary)

► Inside New Retirement Provisions of the CARES Act (Commentary)

► Arkansas Businesses Should Prepare Now to Apply for Federal Aid

Business Interruption Insurance and COVID-19 (Andrew Meadors Commentary)

You Can't Go Below Zero (David Martin Commentary)

Staying Secure Through the Pandemic (Christopher Wright Commentary)

Managing the Message During the Coronavirus Crisis (Natalie Ghidotti)

► SPONSORED: Taking Steps for Recession Readiness

Reshaping An Outbreak (Dr. Carl Abraham Commentary)

Coronavirus: What Employers Need to Know (Allison Pearson Commentary)

► Latest Arkansas Business Small Business News and E-Newsletter Sign-Up

► Complete Arkansas Business Coronavirus Coverage