Virtual job fair aims to connect locals with job openings in North Alabama

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Area small businesses are continuing to apply in large numbers for the third round of government-backed PPP loans. The Small Business Administration said it received more than 60,000 applications in one week after the program kicked off on January 11th.

“They truly are suffering through this pandemic and the economic fallout,” said Hilary Claybourne, Northeast Alabama’s Small Business Development Center Director.

For almost a year, Claybourne has been helping owners navigate the world of finance amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A lot of stuff in the weeds that is not typical of day to day business of how to sell clothing or food or whatever in their day to day operations,” said Claybourne.

To qualify for this round of PPP loans, businesses need to show a 25 percent loss in revenue during the quarter after the pandemic set in. Businesses can also now get their loans completely forgiven if they 60 percent of it on payroll.

“It is targeted towards some of those small business that really got left in the dust during the first round,” said Claybourne.

A priority is now placed on helping minority and veteran-owned, as well as rural and truly small businesses, make ends meet. Restaurants and bars are also eligible for slightly larger loans this time around after being caught off guard by new regulations. Owners are able to use the loans to pay for things like heaters and outdoor tables, allowing many to increase their capacity and get closer to breaking even.

The Small Business Development Center has also provided a number of free resources on its website available here.