The Economic Alliance’s primary focus right now is to provide services and information to help our member businesses during this unprecedented event.
We're here to help.
Federal, state and local programs have been created to help businesses recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which are shown below under Financial Relief. Between running your business and sorting through the wave of information, it can be hard to figure out program eligibility, deadlines and requirements.
We've always said to our members: make us your first call. That's no different now. Information on financial assistance programs is shown below, and we can help. Reach out to Local Business Project Specialist Mike Lukan and Research and Analytics Specialist Laura Thomas to find out where to start.
Mike and Laura have years of experience helping business apply for economic incentive programs, job retraining grants, and more. If we can’t help you, we’ll point to the right resource that can.
Other questions? Reach us at 319-398-5317 or email@example.com.
Updated 4/6/20 at 5:00 p.m.
- COVID-19 Small Business Finance Options from the Federal Government Webinar ((Recorded April 1) - hosted by the Economic Alliance and lead by John Kirchner, Midwest Region Executive Director for Congressional & Public Affairs with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Learn how to navigate small business financial assistance available in the CARES Act.
- NEW - Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) - Created in the CARES Act, $350 billion help small businesses. PPP loan applications for small businesses and sole proprietors opened on April 3. Independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply beginning on April 10. The loans will be forgiven as long as the funds are used to keep employees on the payroll and for certain other expenses. CLICK HERE for the application form. Find lenders eligilble to issue a PPP loan HERE.
- Iowa Economic Development Authority Business Recovery Resources - State, federal and other financial assistance options, business and financial guidances and resources
- SBA Disaster Assistance Loans - Provides low-interest working capital loans of up to $2 million for businesses with 500 employess or less. The CARES Act expands eligibility, including a grant that will provide an emergency advance of up to $10,000 to small businesses and private nonprofits within three days of applying for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan. DETAILS + APPLY NOW
- Targeted Small Business Sole Operator Fund - Created to support Targeted Small Businesses (women, minorities, service-connected disable veterans and individuals with disablities) with zero employees. The program will process applications in of receipt of application and submission of all required documents until funds are exhausted. DETAILS + APPLY NOW
- NEW - COVID-19 Disaster Response Fund - Local fund led by the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation. Rapid response grants to partners where resources are most needed. Grant applications for nonprofits will open in early April. DETAILS
- NEW - A Small Business COVID-19 Resource Guide by the Kauffman Foundation - includes a helpful walkthrough of questions small business can ask and explanations of programs
- Note: Businesses should work with their current lenders to determine exactly what offering is the best fit for them.
HR, Legal, Employment & Other Resources
- NEW - ICR Career Collective - Direct and personalized support and resources for employers and job seekers experiencing changes in employment at this time. For rapid sharing of information among workforce partners, employers and job seekers, join the Facebook Group!
- Unemployment Information from Iowa Workforce Development
- COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and Unemployment Insurance Benefits for Employers
- Voluntary Shared Work Program - The Voluntary Shared Work (VSW) program may be a viable option for employers dealing with challenges from COVID-19. The program is intended for use as an alternative to layoffs and can be an effective tool for Iowa businesses experiencing a temporary decline in regular business activity. Approved VSW plans may be valid for up to one year from the plan’s starting date.
- Paid Leave and Unemployment Benefits
- Unemployment insurance tax extension to assist small businesses
- U.S. Chamber Information – includes resources and guidelines for business, public policy efforts and economic impact information
- Crisis Management Information for Businesses from the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives
- Weekly Webcast by Mercer: Employers' Workforce Journey(Recorded on April 2)
- Webinar: Understanding the Families First Program (Recorded on April 2) presented by Shuttleworth & Ingersoll, covers the program offering unemployment financial assistance to companies 2-500 employees affected by COVID-19. This webinar will address new laws and Federal and State regulations that apply to employers related to COVID-19 and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, including PTO, FML, and unemployment.
- NEW - Webinar: Mental Health Resources and Strategies for Business Leaders on April 14 at 3 - 4 p.m., covering short and long term considerations for mental health as leaders, conversations leaders should be having with colleagues, strategies to support and promote mental wellness among teams, and resources to turn to when times get tough.
- Webinar: Iowa Workforce Development - Unemployment Insurance Recorded on April 7
- Webinar: CLA Livestream Series Recorded on April 7
- Weekly Webcast by RSM UL LLP covering the Coronavirus' Economic Impact, Organizational Preparation for the Future, and Risk Mitigation
There is virtually no industry that has not been affected by the spread of COVID-19, including locally owned businesses. Here are some ways to support local businesses at this time, and it is recommended you call ahead as the situation is ever-changing:
- Shop online. Many businesses have online storefronts that offer deliver or in-person pick up. Cedar Rapids Area Shop Where I Live features many local businesses selling a variety of products and services. To assist with the hardship of this pandemic, businesses can now list gift cards and menus FOR FREE on Shop Where I Live. Reach out to Jody Josten, Membership Services and Growth Specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Buy gift cards now and use them later.
- Support the local economy--see the Open For Business in Cedar Rapids facebook page here, KCRG's list of restaurants here and see the Member Directory here.
- Order take out from local restaurants.
- Interact with local businesses on social media – share their content to your page or like and comment on their posts.
- 3/27 - New Federal Stimulus Bill Includes Assistance for Small Business - Forgivable Loans Among New Benefits - The federal government is set to issue the largest stimulus package in history to help business, workers, families and communities during the crisis, including the CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program.
- 3/23 - Iowa Small Business Relief Program Application Closes March 31
Many of our previously scheduled events have been postponed, converted to virtual events, or cancelled. Please see our Events Calendar for events and webinars coming up. Please also note: All ribbon cuttings and groundbreakings through May 12 are cancelled or postponed.
Stay informed and look for information from reliable and trusted sources, including: