CHICAGO — In order to give smaller businesses a better chance to access funds, President Joe Biden unveiled changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) on Monday.
One of the changes the White House announced is that, starting Wednesday, Feb. 24, there will be a two-week window where only businesses with 20 or fewer employees can apply for forgivable loans under the coronavirus relief program. According to government estimates, Biden said, companies of this size make up 90% of businesses in the country.
“Small businesses are the engines of our economic progress,” Biden said in remarks given at the White House event where the changes were announced. “They’re the glue, and the heart and soul of our communities. But they’re getting crushed.”
He went on to say that, in the last month, the share of funding for small businesses with fewer than 10 employees in the program has increased by nearly 60%, and that the share of funding going to small businesses in rural areas is up almost 30%.
Other changes announced include the removal of a prohibition about lending to businesses that have at least a 20% ownership of a person arrested or convicted for non-fraud felonies in the past 12 months. Those behind on student loans, as well as legal, noncitizen residents, can now also apply for funds.
Applications for this, the second round of PPP, began on January 11 and will run through March 31. The program has already paid out $133.5 billion in loans, which is about half of the $284 billion approved by Congress. The current round of loans and grants are a continuation of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act created in March 2020.
For more information about the new round of PPP loans, visit https://www.uschamber.com/report/guide-small-business-covid-19-emergency-loans.