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Business Trends , Small Business – April 3, 2020

Applications Open Today for $350 Billion in Small Business Loans

Illustration: Getty Images
ProService Hawaii says local companies and nonprofits should apply soon.

Applications for small business loans under the new federal CARES Act are being accepted starting today and ProService Hawaii says local companies should act quickly.

“We’ve been working with all the local banks to basically expedite the application process to ensure that more clients can process loans quicker because there is going to be a run on this money and when it dries up it will be gone,” says Steve Seto, VP of marketing at the HR services company.

The CARES Act was signed into law on March 27 and its Paycheck Protection Program will loan $350 billion to businesses and nonprofits nationwide that have fewer than 500 employees. But in some ways, the loans are more like grants.

“The new Paycheck Protection Program looks very promising for Hawai‘i’s employers,” says ProService CEO Ben Godsey. “It includes provisions about forgivable loans for retaining your workforce and paying your rent and utilities. These loans will be in extremely high demand, which is why it’s critical for business to apply as soon as possible starting April 3.”

The loans will be valuable immediately to local companies that have employees who provide what are classified as essential services, but their employers have no money to pay them to work.

Seto adds: “We have been coaching our clients for over a week to prepare to apply quickly for these loans.”

Download the loan application here or work with your bank.

Seto says Godsey had a strong sense of what was coming weeks before the national and local governments acted on the coronavirus. “As a result, about a month ago, we fundamentally shifted the focus of our company and our operations and we were early to remote work, we were early to a lot of things.”

ProService also put a lot of work into its online Employer’s Guide to the Coronavirus, which has become a valuable resource for its clients and local businesses in general. The site – updated daily with information from local, national and global sources – has dozens of links to government and private data, forms and programs, and information on everything from business survival to best practices for your and your employees’ health.

“We’ve gotten great feedback from our clients: ‘Wow. This is the most actionable, practical, consumable and understandable information on what I can actually do now, why it’s a good thing for me and what the different options are.’ ”

Usually such a valuable resource is kept only for clients, Seto says, but ProService makes the site available to everyone, because “the sooner all leaders and employers in Hawai‘i are able to act on this information, the sooner our collective community and economy will turn around.”

“The shutdown in Hawai‘i is necessary for public health,” Godsey says. “But for the societal and economic pain of this shutdown to be worth it, every business and every person needs to play their part to flatten the curve. Otherwise, it lingers in our community and our community continues to suffer.”

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