PPP Is Over—Here Are The Options Your Small Business Has Now

7 min read • Jul 21, 2021 • Joe Kukura

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) effectively kept the small business economy afloat over the last 15 months, pumping nearly $800 billion into an estimated 12 million businesses across the US. But the PPP loan money ran out just a month after the program’s deadline was extended in March, and those crucially important potentially forgivable loans are no longer available to help small businesses.

Recent months have still not been easy, even with the lifting of restrictions. While many businesses are reopening, the costs of reopening are making for anything but business-as-usual. Supply chains are broken, staffing is tremendously difficult, and this is not the dream reopening business owners had hoped for during the long slog of COVID-19 closures

PPP is no longer available, but other forms of loans, microloans, grants, and debt relief are available to your small business. Most of these are administered by the government agency US Small Business Administration, and many are COVID-19 relief programs that offer loan forgiveness or other cost-cutting accommodations that take into account the current economic challenges. Let’s look at some PPP alternatives that could still offer your small business economic aid for any loss of revenue you’ve suffered under COVID-19. 

COVID-19 EIDL

A different set of SBA loans may not be as well-known as PPP but offer similar relief. More importantly, they’re still being awarded to small businesses regularly, as these loans’ funding has not run out.

The COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) “provides economic relief to small businesses and nonprofit organizations that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue” because of the pandemic, according to the SBA. EIDLs had existed before COVID-19, but the program was recently bolstered to provide more economic help for small businesses. Traditionally providing loans of up to $150,000, EIDLs can now potentially triple in size to $500,000, and your first repayment date won’t be for another 18 months. While interest is charged on these loans, it’s a low fixed rate of 3.75% for businesses and 2.75% for nonprofits.

Other relief funds in the EIDL program may be available if you’ve already applied for an EIDL. The Targeted EIDL Advance Grant provides up to $10,000 to businesses with 300 or fewer employees, that can show a 30% loss in revenue for any 2-month period of the pandemic, and are located in a low-income community (you can use this map to determine your community’s status). Similarly, the Supplemental Targeted Advance could provide an additional $5,000 that does not have to be paid back, but it’s only for businesses with 10 or fewer employees.

Other SBA Loans

The SBA has been around since long before the pandemic, and they administer several traditional small business loan programs that are still available during COVID-19. Here are a few other types of SBA loans to help your business during times of hardship.

  • SBA Express LoanThe quickest, easiest, and most flexible of these loans, and the SBA responds to SBA Express Loan applications within 36 hours. The funds can be used on working capital, a line of credit, or a commercial real estate loan.
  • 7(a) Loans and Microloans These SBA loans are primarily intended for purchases involving real estate but can also be used for working capital, refinancing debt, or buying furniture and supplies.
  • SBA 504 LoanThe SBA 504 Loan is intended to finance large projects that create additional jobs. Funds are meant to finance purchasing or constructing buildings and buying or modernizing facilities. 

You can check out our guide with more information about different types of SBA loans.

Shuttered Venue Operators Grant

The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant is intended specifically for live music venues, theaters, and museums that have largely been closed and without revenue through the pandemic. If your small business is an event venue, you could be eligible for part of a $16 billion grant fund. The money awarded does not need to be paid back as long as it’s used on payroll, rent, and operations costs. You can apply for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant on the SBA website. 

This program has worked out pretty well, and most of the fund is still waiting to be awarded. According to the SBA’s mid-July figures, only $5 billion of the total has been awarded, though the SBA has received nearly $12 billion requested in applications. The funds may start to disappear fast.

Restaurant Revitalization Fund

Funds disappeared very quickly in the case of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, a $28.6 billion relief package for restaurant businesses—it opened May 3 and was depleted within barely 2 months. The program was beset with legal challenges, and some restaurants even had their grant offers rescinded. 

It’s a reminder that as helpful as government relief programs can be, they can still be thwarted by legislative uncertainty. Private lenders may offer less confusion and red tape, and an online lending marketplace can help you find the right small business loan.

Online Small Business Loans

Depending on your small business’s needs, you may want to consider a short term loan, a business term loan, startup loan, or business acquisition loan. Or it may be simpler to take out a line of credit, a merchant cash advance, or start using a business credit card. There are also online marketplaces for commercial mortgages or equipment financing, and accounts receivable financing may be the right relief option when many businesses along your supply chain are also struggling.

There are a number of factors you may want to consider before taking out a loan. Consider your business’s creditworthiness, whether you’ll be willing to offer collateral, and what your specific plans are for the loan. And do be ready to dig up and present a fair amount of bookkeeping documentation. But you may find other COVID-19 relief for your small business—and maybe without the headaches of previous loan programs.

Joe Kukura

Joe Kukura is a San Francisco freelance writer whose work also appears in SF Weekly and SFist. He’s written financial advice for NerdWallet, tech industry analysis for the Daily Dot, sports content for NBC Bay Area, and good, old-fashioned clickbait for Thrillist.