For the past decade, small businesses have become an increasingly important staples of Flint’s economic future. Now, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has brought much of these businesses to a screeching halt.
Metro Community Development (MCD) wants to help those business get the capital they need to survive so they can reopen when the time comes and continue to contribute to Flint’s economic growth and future.
MCD is a distributer of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). These spending packages are geared toward helping small businesses and their employees weather the economic fallout caused by the coronavirus by providing low-interest federal loans. Those loans may be forgivable if companies meet certain requirements.
The PPP helps employers pay their employees and is forgiven if it keeps at least 75 percent of its employees. EIDL provides economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue.
Many small businesses did not received money from the first $350 billion Paycheck Protection Program before the money ran out. Another wave of dollars is available now that Congress has passed a new $484 billion spending package. MCD will begin processing applications as quickly as possible for those loans.
“One of our primary goals, in good times and bad, is to help small businesses grow and prosper by providing technical advice and capital.” says Brian Glowiak, CEO Metro Community Development. “During these extremely challenging times, we’re working closely with our existing clients while also establishing new relationships to help business owners survive until our economy reopens.”
As a micro-lender, MCD opens doors for businesses that do not have strong relationships with more conventional lenders, like banks.
“We’re doing our best to help businesses, especially those without established links to traditional banks, to access the vital financial infusion offered through the Paycheck Protection Program,” says Glowiak.
Unlike traditional lenders, MCD has a specific mission – to help underserved businesses. This niche creates a smaller pool of applicants that can be processed faster.
Despite the advantage, it created an early problem for MCD. Given the specificity of its lending, the organization was not sure it was approved to help with the companies get the stimulus money.
Once it was clear it was able to work with the small businesses, MCD quickly moved forward. Right now, it has a pipeline of 15-20 businesses receiving an average loan of $18,000, according to Marcus Rankins, MCD vice president of asset development, who manages the process.
To compensate for the late start, MCD stays in constant contact with other often more traditional lenders like Huntington Bank and Chase Bank. This allows them to pool their collective knowledge and get as many people the money they need to stay alive.
Rankin and his team also encourage applicants to seek out any means possible to help that may help their businesses.
MCD has helped many small businesses, but the ones that seem to most be afflicted are local restaurants and bar & grills.
“I think they are the most hard-hit and there is a trickle-down effect from the business owners down to the employees,” says Rankins.
However, more immediately needed businesses, such as those supplying medical equipment, are moved to the top of the list for approval.
“Any time there is a business that is important to managing emergencies we make sure they are given priority,” says Rankins.
In strange and difficult times, MCD is offering a chance for underserved small businesses to plan for their future.
Small businesses looking to connect with MCD about the stimulus loan can do so by emailing Rankin at firstname.lastname@example.org.