The Top (Lesser Known) COVID-19 Small Business Relief Resources

The Paycheck Protection Program and EIDL loan program have made headlines as being the most helpful, widespread COVID-19 relief funds.

But these are just the tip of the relief iceberg. Here are some of the lesser-known resources and subsidies you can take advantage of to get your business through 2020 and beyond.

Non-goverment resources

Hello Alice Emergency Grant

Hello Alice has emerged as a place for small businesses to network, gain mentorship, and receive funding offers. Truly a one stop shop for all the resources and connections you’ll need, they have also made $10,000 grants available to all small business owners. Funding is being disbursed on a rolling basis which means they will continually review new applications until funding runs out.

Suggested next steps: Create an account to get started on your application today.

The Red Backpack Fund

Lead by The Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation, the Red Backpack Fund offers grants of up to $5,000 to majority-women owned and led businesses and nonprofits based in the US. Recipients will also receive an all-access pass to Sara Blakely’s MasterClass on entrepreneurship. Every month through August, applications will be vetted and 200 new grantees will be selected. Applications for the next round will be open from July 6th to 13th with the final round of applications open from August 3rd to 10th. To be eligible, a business must have at least one additional employee paid through payroll - Sole Proprietorships or businesses without payroll or who exclusively employ contractors will not be eligible to apply.

Suggested next steps: Review their FAQ for eligibility criteria and start preparing for the next round of applications.

Stimulus 2020

Privately funded with the intention of providing stimulus to America’s local businesses and backed by Womply, no-interest and no-fee loans of $1,000 are available. By signing up for a Womply Free account, connecting your bank account, and notifying them via email at, you will receive a link to complete your application to receive the $1,000. Money typically arrives within one business day.

Suggested next steps: Review their FAQ before signing up for free on Womply’s website

Grameen America Economic Relief & Recovery Fund

Grameen America is a registered 501©(3) charity that offers microfinancing on favorable terms to women led businesses. In light of COVID, these favorable terms are made all the more better by deferring payments for up to six months and offering 0% interest. If you’re ineligible for the EIDL and PPP or require funding beyond that, you can’t get better loan terms anywhere else. The only downside to consider is that you must apply for a loan at a branch and not online.

Suggested next steps: Find out if Grameen America has a location near you and inquire at the local branch about the lending options that are available to you.

Lawyers for Good Government

As a small business weathering the pandemic, any need for legal counsel may be a big financial commitment you can’t commit to even if it’s essential to your business. To address this need, Lawyers for Good Government are offering free guidance regarding available federal, state, and local programs for grants and/or loans in addition to pro bono phone consultations for small businesses dealing with legal issues due to diminished revenues or closures as a result of COVID-19. Clinics have been launched on a city-by-city basis with more opening up in the future to service anything from navigating bankruptcy to abiding by employment laws.

Suggested next steps: Check to see if a clinic is operating in your area and schedule an appointment.

Government resources

The government programs do not stop at the PPP and EIDL. Ensure you are following up on these resources to review your eligibility and keep a healthy level of capital in your business to sustain operations.

Deferral of social security taxes

With the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act, the Deferral of Social Security Taxes has been made easier for those with PPP loans making this a program everyone should be taking advantage of. IRS Form 941 has been revised for the remainder of 2020 and will allow you to claim your credits and deferrals. IRS Form 8974 provides a worksheet you can complete to find the credit you are entitled to. This form should be attached to your Form 941 when submitting.

Suggested next steps: Download IRS Forms 941 and 8974 and read up on the specific terms and conditions of the payroll tax deferral.

SBA Express Bridge Loans

The Express Bridge Loan program is the lesser known sibling of the PPP and the EIDL. The program offers loans at a maximum amount of $25,000 with a quick turnaround time through SBA Express Lenders. You can apply at any SBA backed lender but a previous lending relationship will be a requirement. The least favorable of the disaster loans with regards to the terms and fees, you can expect an interest rate of 6.5% plus the prime rate which is the interest rate commercial banks charge the most creditworthy customers. If you do receive this loan before the EIDL, it can be refinanced through your EIDL making this quick access to capital to cover the time before receiving a more favorable loan.

Suggested next steps: Find lenders in your area to see if you have an institution by you that you have had a previous borrowing relationship with and inquire with them about submitting an application.

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This post is to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, business, or tax advice. Each person should consult his or her own attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in this post. Bench assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.

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