There’s a lot of uncertainty right now for small businesses in Hampton Roads.
Many are either shut down or trying to find new ways to operate under the current conditions.
That’s why the Hampton Roads Small Business Development Center is trying to provide information and resources to businesses in need.
“These past couple of weeks we’ve just been flat-out running,” said James Carroll, executive director of the SBDC.
They received a grant from the Small Business Administration for about $347,000 to help businesses affected by COVID-19. That’s allowed them to bring on additional counseling staff.
Carroll says they’re able to provide important information and help businesses get access to capital.
“Those are the two big challenges that people have in a time like this," Carroll explained. "You don’t know what’s going on and you don’t understand the intricacies and procedures of any of the programs that are out there. They may not even know about some of the programs out there."
One of the businesses they’ve worked with is ABC Consulting, which helps restaurants and other businesses with alcohol licensing.
Working with the hospital and restaurant industry, they were hit hard by the pandemic.
“100 percent of my clients are experiencing either closures or they’re only providing services via curbside or delivery,” said founder and CEO Crystal Stump.
She worked with the SBDC and Old Point National Bank to apply for a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program.
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“I think everyone experienced in the beginning the directives changed every hour, so everyone was working as quickly as they could to get that information passed down to the applicant of the loan," Stump said. "While it was in the beginning a lot of information changing every few hours, ultimately we were able to get all the information that we needed, submit the application, and the processing went very smooth once that application was initially submitted."
She found out this week that she was approved for a $51,000 loan.
The funding is helping them to stay open and work with their clients to obtain the licenses they need to permanently deliver alcohol or serve it curbside.
Applying for a loan may not be right for everyone, though, and that’s something else Carroll says they want to help small businesses figure out before they apply.
“Our concern is that they’re bringing on additional debt and my biggest concern is when they finally reopen, the market is going to change dramatically,” said Carroll.
If you want to get help from the SBDC, Carroll says it’s important for businesses to know that everything they do is confidential, free and non-judgmental.
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