Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Sequoyah Fund has been assisting clients affected by the economic impact of the pandemic. Sequoyah Fund has allocated additional funds to be able to make more emergency loans. They have also been offering many clients a 120-day deferment on loan payments. With the severe negative impact small businesses are feeling, Sequoyah Fund understands that struggling to make their loan payments can be an additional source of stress.
“We have been attempting to personally contact each and every one of our clients to offer help,” said Russ Seagle, Sequoyah Fund’s executive director. “Even our board members are helping us make calls. Unfortunately, people’s contact information changes over time, and it’s not been possible for us to reach everyone.”
Sequoyah Fund has been active on social media to get the word out about relief efforts, as well as other federal and state-level relief programs small businesses can access. “We’ve also sent numerous emails to our client list, but we understand not everyone is going to see those emails,” says Seagle.
In addition to deferring payments, Sequoyah Fund can assist clients who need additional capital to get through the Coronavirus Pandemic. They are offering emergency loans of up to $25,000 at terms comparable to those offered by the Small Business Administration (SBA). Sequoyah Fund staff is also helping small business owners determine the loan option – or mix of loans – that best fit their situation.
“Right now the federal government has some extremely attractive loan options – deals we just cant beat – so we’re pointing people toward the option that will be a good fit for them,” offers Seagle. “Some of the loans the SBA is offering can be converted to forgivable grants that won’t have to be repaid, so these may be better than a Sequoyah Fund loan.”
The SBA is offering an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and a CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program Loan (PPP). Both programs have advantages and disadvantages, different funding limits, and different levels of loan forgiveness. Sequoyah Fund has created a COVID-19 Response page on their website to provide up-to-the-minute information on all of the various programs available to small businesses. The site (https://www.sequoyahfund.org/covid-19-response/) contains information on how to apply for a payment deferment, apply for a new loan, apply for a forgivable loan through the SBA, requesting free, confidential counseling, and a listing of online courses to help business owners sharpen their skills.
Sequoyah Fund is encouraging everyone to first look at the information on the website, join their email list for access to the latest information, and then contact them to talk about which path to take. Says Seagle, “It appears there may be more relief – and different types of relief – on the way soon, so we don’t want anyone to fall through the cracks as we help them navigate through this crisis.”
– Sequoyah Fund release