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.

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.

The Small Business Administration is currently developing guidelines for exactly the program will work and how businesses will apply. You can sign up for SBA email alerts here.

Here's more on PPP:

  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has a guide (PDF) on who is eligible, what documents businesses must provide, how much you can borrow, terms and more.
  • The U.S. Treasury Department has its own fact sheet.
  • More information for borrowers is here.
  • An application form is here.

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.


The SBA has also authorized states to use $12 million in Community Block Development Grant money as loans to companies and grants to clinics, hospitals and nonprofits.

To find out more about this aid, contact the Arkansas Economic Development Commission via email or by phone at (501) 682-1121 or toll-free at (800) ARKANSAS.

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.

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 via email or by phone at (501) 682-1121 or toll-free at (800) ARKANSAS. The AEDC's also has a website set up specifically related to COVID-19.

Other Resources

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.

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.

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.

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


The Arkansas State Chamber presents, "Unemployment Benefits Under CARES Act." The free webinar, hosted by attorneys Michael S. Moore and Katherine C. Campbell of Friday Eldredge & Clark of Little Rock, will provide up-to-date information on the CARES Act unemployment benefits.
When: 3 p.m. CST Wednesday, April 8, via Zoom. 
Register in advance for this meeting here.

Cross Gunter Witherspoon & Galchus P.C. of Little Rock is leading a webinar called "COVID-19 Update: Estate Planning in Uncertain Times." Attorneys Laura Dyer Johnson and Maya S. Goree will explain the basics of estate planning and how COVID-19 will affect it.

When:Noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 8, via Zoom.

Register in advance for this meeting here.

The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center is hosting a series of COVID-19-related webinars that include:

  • Applying for the state Quick Action Loan Program
  • Budgeting During An Economic Downturn
  • Access to SBA Programs and Other Funding Options
You can see its complete list of webinars and register for them here.

City, Local Support

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.

Other Resources

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