The Enterprise Center

The Enterprise Center is helping small, minority-owned businesses to apply for the federal Paycheck Protection Program. —TRIBUNE PHOTO/ABDUL R. SULAYMAN

The Enterprise Center is encouraging local minority-owned small businesses — especially the smallest businesses — to apply for the latest round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) forgivable loans.

This comes as the Biden-Harris administration has amended PPP legislation and expanded eligibility to ensure greater access to the smallest businesses or those with fewer than 20 employees.

The organization is urging them to apply in the hope that it can provide $100 million in PPP loans to Greater Philadelphia businesses in need.

“Now is not the time for minority-owned small businesses to stay on the sidelines,” said Della Clark, president of the Enterprise Center.

“While Black- and brown-owned businesses were largely excluded from the program’s early rollout, we’re seeing an effort to make the process more equitable. We at the Enterprise Center are here as a resource and as a certified PPP lender to help ensure these businesses do not get shut out again.”

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will accept the forgivable PPP loan applications only until March 9.

Many businesses that were previously ineligible for PPP are now eligible, including sole proprietors and independent contractors who claimed a business loss in 2019, borrowers with federal student loans now in default and borrowers who have committed non-fraud felonies in the past year.

Ian Lawrence, senior director at the Enterprise Center, said the changes allow Schedule C filers — independent contractors and sole proprietors — to use the gross income listed on their tax returns, rather than their net profit, to calculate their maximum loan amount.

“For a lot of the businesses that we work with, most of them had negative net income from 2019 so they couldn’t access the program at all,” he said. “So this is going to open up the program for a lot more people.”

The federal program was created last year to provide potentially forgivable low-interest loans for businesses struggling because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The original program was plagued with criticism, and data from an Associated Press analysis found that thousands of minority-owned small businesses were the last in line to receive loans.

“The program did not touch a lot of the people who were most in need,” Lawrence said.

“The ones who had that negative net income on their Schedule C, they couldn’t access the program at all and they were the ones who were hurting the most, and most of those businesses were owned by people of color.”

Last year, the Enterprise Center was instrumental in connecting minority-owned businesses with about $20 million in PPP funding.

The organization has partnered with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP to offer a virtual workshop Friday at noon. The workshop will cover an overview of new PPP statutes, how to maximize your PPP loan amount, documentation preparation, how to access the application and important dates and deadlines.

To register for the workshop visit www.theenterprisecenter.com/capital/pppready.

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