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Coronavirus Aid for Puerto Rican Small Businesses

Last update: May 5, 2020

· DuartePino,COVID19,Crisis Management,Business Advice,Incentives

At DuartePino, we are committed to helping local scale-ups and startups reach their full potential, and give them tools toward resiliency. As we all face new and unchartered waters, and uncertainty caused by the biggest health and economic crisis of modern time, the COVID-19 outbreak, we stand ever the more committed to this mission. Half of the battle is knowledge --understanding the resources available to your business in times of crisis, and taking action.

Here we share with you a summary of local assistance programs, loans and grants being offered to Puerto Rican small and medium businesses, their respective guidelines, and helpful links toward obtaining such aid.

This article is a living compilation and will be updated as more information becomes available.

A. Federal Aid

Here you can find a summary of federal programs being offered. There are two main federal programs aimed at helping small and medium-sized businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis: the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Both programs depend on availability of funding. Therefore, if at the time you visit the corresponding website or bank you are notified that there is no funding available, you would need to stay alert to see if new funding is appropriated. Further details can be found here (Spanish).

  • EIDL: The SBA has two processes to obtain financing - By mail or online. This process can be complex and may require at least 3-6 weeks between filing and receiving the money. Learn more here.
  • PPP: You have to apply for this at a participating bank. Learn more about the PPP here. Here is the official SBA list of participating banks.

B. Local Assistance (Puerto Rico)

1. Puerto Rico - Governor Wanda Vázquez announced the following measure but the program is on hiatus because it has no funds. It offered $1,500 to small and medium-sized companies that have ceased operations due to the COVID-19 crisis that can request this assistance here. Visit www.refuerzoeconomico.com for more information.

Also, The date to file tax returns has been postponed until July 15, 2020, and the 10% withholding at the source of payment for professional services has been suspended until June 30, 2020.

For other updates regarding tax issues, visit this official government website.

2. CDBG - DR Funds - The Government of Puerto Rico announced the launch of the Small Business Financing Program (SBF), financed with funds allocated by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as part of the CDBG-DR funds.

SBF will provide a Recovery Grants phase (grants awards of up to $50K) for working capital and moveable equipment for small businesses and micro-enterprises that suffered physical and/or financial losses due to the Hurricanes. Following the Recovery Grant phase, SBF will offer the ability to apply for flexible loans to implement economic recovery further. More information here.

3. Caguas Municipality - If your business is operating in Caguas, the municipal government initiated a program that includes the following opportunities.

  • The monetary allocation will be administered by BADECO to grant emergency commercial financing of up to $4K, at 1% of interest, for operating expenses of businesses established in Caguas that suffered a loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, said loans would have a moratorium of 3 to 6 months from the lifting of the governor’s executive order. Those interested can write to amuniz@badeco.org.
  • The Financial Aid Program for Entrepreneurs (PAFE) will also be available, which grants donations to businesses through CDBG funds. Grants are up to $5K, and companies must have been in operation for at least one year. The following contacts were provided from the statement: zamia.baerga@caguas.gov.pr; sdiaz@prsbtdc.org; or amuniz@badeco.org.

C. Assistance from private and non-profit organizations

- Lendreams has an emergency micro-program for existing businesses with:

  • Loans up to $10K - 5% interest, without collateral, payable in 4 years, with 60 days of automatic moratorium principal and interest and option to pay interest only for 6 months. Only applications that included credit history and bank statements for the past 3 months will be considered.
  • Loans from $10K to $20K - 6% fixed interest payable in 5 years with the benefits of 60 days moratorium and interest only for 6 months, taking as collateral an existing business team and requesting payrolls from the past 2 years in addition to the request to view your credit history.
  • Loans over $20K up to $50K - with 60 days moratorium and interest only for 6 months. The rate and repayment period will be determined upon the purpose of higher collateral requirements. Financial history with financial projections will be requested.

For more information, you can send a message or visit their website.

2. Causa Local - The Puerto Rican organization Causa Local aims to provide alternative access to capital for Puerto Rican businesses. Here is an explanation of a program that offers $15K, interest-free loans to small businesses. Register here.

3. Facebook’s Small Business Grants Program - At the moment, this program is not active in all states. Be on the lookout to see when this program will be offered in your state or territory. Facebook is providing $4K recipient support in the United States ($2,500 in cash, $1,500 in optional ad credits). To be eligible to apply, you must:

  • Be a for-profit company

  • Have between 2 and 50 employees

  • Have more than one year of business activity

  • Have experienced difficulties due to COVID-19

  • Be in or near a location where Facebook operates

For the Facebook program, you can apply here.

4. Salesforce - This program provides the opportunity to receive a grant of $10K. This summary was taken from an official Salesforce statement: To be eligible, companies must:

  • Be a for-profit company

  • Have 2-50 employees

  • Have been in business for at least 2 years from March 2020

  • Have an annual income between $250k and $2M

  • Be experiencing challenges due to COVID-19

For the Salesforce program, you can apply here.

5. Intuit - The Small Business Relief Initiative - This program is being offered in conjunction with GoFundMe, where small businesses can raise a certain amount of money. You can find the details here.

D. Local Incubation and Acceleration Programs

These are NOT direct business assistance programs, such as the SBA program. However, we include them because they have taken special measures due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and may present opportunities for certain types of companies.

a. Parallel18 - Global technology business accelerator, Parallel18, has a competitive 5-month program to scale sales and growth for participants. However, at the juncture of COVID-19, the entity is taking various measures to support the local community of technology companies. Details here.

The accelerator also offers Pre18, a 12-week program dedicated exclusively to local early-stage businesses. It provides $20K to up to 40 companies, and the application period starts on May 11, 2020. Learn more here.

b. Grupo Guayacán - This organization, which was founded more than two decades ago, is offering several investments, incubation, and business acceleration programs. With the COVID-19 situation we are now facing, they are offering different types of assistance. Their programs have different calendars, so keep up to date by visiting their website.

E. Other Guides and Resources:

  • U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) - Coronavirus: Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources - LINK

  • U.S. Centers for Disease Control - Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 - INFO

  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce - Combating the Coronavirus - INFO

  • National Venture Capital Association - Coronavirus Information and Resources for VCs and Startups - INFO

  • Gusto - COVID-19 Relief Resources for SMB's - INFO

  • Intuit - The Small Business Relief Initiative - INFO

  • Ureeka - COVID-19 Resource Center - INFO

  • Webinar - Preparing Your Business to Navigate Coronavirus Disruption - LINK

  • Presentation - Preparing Your Business to Navigate Coronavirus Disruption - LINK

  • Rios Mena Law - The guide to transition your company to operate remotely - INFO

Our Recommendation: Act NOW!

Start applying NOW. Direct business assistance programs must be inundated with applications and few resources. This means that your application can take weeks to process, and even more time to be funded. Requests take hours, and you may have to speak to experts.

Also, create a plan and seek to meet with an expert. Start putting together an emergency plan and budget, with business continuity measures and new sources of income. If you don't have a cash flow projection for the next 3 to 12 months that includes a sales decline scenario, do it now.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a situation that is unlike any other crisis your business has ever had to face. Still, as business owners, we are attuned to changing tides and are resilient. Now it’s time to take action for the benefit of you and your team.

Learn more about Coronavirus Aid for Puerto Rican Small Businesses.

This blog was written by Ivan Ríos Mena, Esq. member of our external team of advisors, Ivan combines his unique legal, business, and operational experience to serve emerging companies in strategic ways, made possible by his eclectic background. The former COO of the PR Science, Technology & Research Trust, and founding member of the global startup accelerator Parallel18, Ivan currently advises businesses in corporate, commercial, government incentive, and intellectual property matters related to different stages of commercialization.

DuartePino is a management advisory firm that combines in-depth customer knowledge with practical expertise in marketing communications to help clients create sustainable business growth. We can provide your organization with a fresh perspective, a proven process that invests in the outcome, and the tools for successful execution. From Fractional CMOs to business advisory services, contact us to learn how our team can help with growth strategies for your organization.

*NOTE: The content of this website has been prepared for information purposes only. It is not intended as, and does not constitute, legal advice on local or federal matters.

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