Numerous resources are available for small businesses as they plan to reopen and work to recover from the COVID-19 crisis. Here is a comprehensive list of organizations that can provide information and funding and help you get back on your feet.
Pikes Peak Workforce Center
Help for employers: PPWFC helps companies decide how to handle layoffs, and works with laid-off employees to access benefits and resources. The center also helps find new employees for companies that are hiring.
Help for workers: PPWFC is helping unemployed workers and independent contractors to apply for new unemployment benefits available to those affected by the pandemic. Counselors are fielding calls to answer questions about complex application processes, but the center does not take unemployment applications.
PPWFC also offers webinars and videos to help unemployed workers improve job-hunting skills such as résumé writing and interviewing, directs them to employment sources such as ConnectingColorado.com and training programs, and offers virtual job fairs.
For more information, visit ppwfc.org or call 719-667-3700.
Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center
Free, one-on-one consulting with certified business consultants: Answers to questions about financial and other resources for small businesses, including COVID-related loans and grants, strategies for reopening and general business development. Register at pikespeaksbdc.org/consulting.
Workshops: Webinars covering topics from social media best practices to handling stress and burnout. Pikes Peak SBDC offers several webinar series that present comprehensive information, such as Leading Edge, an eight-week strategic business planning course for entrepreneurs. Preregistration is required; fees vary. View session options and register at pikespeaksbdc.org/workshops.
Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce & EDC
COVID-19 resource page: The chamber has posted a webpage with links to resources for businesses, from guidelines for reopening your business to information on local, state and national small business loans and grants. The page is updated daily. Visit coloradospringschamberedc.com/covid-19.
COVID-19 hotline: Businesses can get one-on-one assistance with a chamber counselor, who will connect individual businesses to appropriate resources. Fill out intake form at coloradospringschamberedc.com/covid-19-hotline.
LOANS AND GRANTS
Paycheck Protection Program Loans: Congress has approved a second round of funding for these loans, which provide funds for small businesses to keep employees working. The loans are forgivable for eight weeks if all employees are kept on payroll and funds are used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest or utilities. For more information: tinyurl.com/CSBJ-PPP2.
SBA Bridge Loans: Businesses that need short-term capital and currently have SBA loans may qualify for up to $25,000. For more information: tinyurl.com/CSBJ-Bridge.
Choose Colorado COVID-19 Business Resource Center: Find more information about federal loan programs, alternative sources of funding and other resources for small businesses, including industry-specific resources, at choosecolorado.com/covid19.
Colorado COVID-19 Relief Fund: Community-based organizations in need of funding to mitigate the effects of the pandemic can apply for operating grants of up to $25,000. For more information: helpcoloradonow.org/covid_relief-fund.
Artist Recovery Fund: Artists and creative professionals in El Paso and Teller counties may apply for grants of about $500 to help cover essential expenses. For more information: ppcf.org.
Survive & Thrive COS: A partnership between Exponential Impact and the Pikes Peak Community Foundation is providing recovery funding up to $25,000, mentoring and other resources to small businesses with two to 25 employees. For more information: exponentialimpact.com/small-business-emergency-relief-fund.
Pikes Peak Enterprise Zone Business Relief Fund: Small businesses within the Pikes Peak Enterprise Zone may apply for grants up to $7,500 for critical needs. For more information: tinyurl.com/CSBJ-EntZone.
Emergency Relief Fund for nonprofits: The Pikes Peak Community Foundation is providing grants for nonprofits affected by the pandemic. For more information: ppcf.org/relief.
GUIDELINES FOR REOPENING YOUR BUSINESS
El Paso County has compiled a downloadable guide to reopening and keeping employees safe, and maintains a COVID-19 data dashboard. Access both at elpasocountyhealth.org.
Gov. Jared Polis issued executive orders April 26 setting out safer-at-home guidelines for gradual reopening of the state’s businesses. The basics:
As of April 27:
• Retail businesses can open for curbside delivery.
• Real estate home showings can resume, but not open houses.
• Elective medical, dental and veterinary procedures can resume.
• In all cases, safety protocols including masks, gloves and social distancing must be observed.
• Schools must remain closed until the end of the school year. However, school buildings may be used for certain services, including small-group instruction.
As of May 1:
• Retail businesses can phase in public reopening.
• Personal services can open for business.
• In all cases, businesses must implement best safety practices.
As of May 4:
• Offices can reopen, with up to 50 percent of staff returning.
• Businesses are encouraged to allow employees to continue telecommuting if possible.
• Child care facilities can reopen or expand.
• In all cases, businesses must follow protocols including symptom screening and temperature checks, closure of common areas and social distancing.
For the latest updates on the safer-at-home order, visit covid19.colorado.gov/safer-at-home.
Guidelines for best practices can be found at tinyurl.com/CSBJ-Practices.