WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 22:  U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during an announcement related to small businesses at the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building February 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden announced changes to the Paycheck Protection Program aimed at helping small and minority-owned business to qualify for federal loans due to the economic impact that has been caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) President Biden Makes Small Business Announcement From White House
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 22: U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during an announcement related to small businesses at the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building February 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden announced changes to the Paycheck Protection Program aimed at helping small and minority-owned business to qualify for federal loans due to the economic impact that has been caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

COVID-19 assistance kept this Adrian shop open. Here’s how you can apply for small business relief this week.

MICHIGAN—She was one of the lucky ones.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of Michigan’s small businesses nationwide have had to shut down, or have had to downsize their operations, including businesses in Michigan. 

Stephanie Buckman, owner of Apple Blossom Furnishing Co. in Adrian, received assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic to help her home decor business stay afloat. They closed down for a time, but are now celebrating a reopening. 

“Being a small business owner is an emotional roller coaster as it is. You’re constantly wanting to move forward and grow,” Buckman told The ‘Gander. “When you throw COVID and the restrictions on top of it, it’s even more emotional because you’re trying to keep things together half the time.” 

The business owner and mother said during the pandemic she worried about having to shut her business down again as well as worried about having to take her child to work with her. 

“You want to make sure your bills are paid. That’s the main thing. Trying to make money and also pay bills,” Buckman said. 

“We did get a bit of help and that was definitely a sigh of relief.” Buckman said she made sure that the assistance she received went towards reinvesting in her business. She tried to hang on to the assistance that she received, so that if her business were to shut down again she’d have extra funding to fall back on.

“We didn’t have to have that I guess, but it was extra help to make sure that everything got paid,” Buckman said before recommending that other business owners who need assistance should definitely look into the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). 

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which provides loans to assist businesses with keeping their workforce employed during the coronavirus crisis has been available. Some borrowers may be eligible for PPP loan forgiveness, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). 

In effort to reach the smallest businesses, SBA will also offer PPP loans to businesses that have less than 20 employees and sole proprietors, ending on Tuesday, March 9 at 5p.m. ET. It was also announced by President Biden that additional program amendments will take place to ensure that access to the PPP loans are more equitable. 

About 98% of small businesses in the nation have less than 20 employees. In the Mitten, these are the small companies that create an average of 30,000 net jobs yearly, as noted by the SBA. However, many of the state’s small businesses missed out on the previous round of PPP that started last March. 

Many people of color who own businesses struggled to find financial institutions that would accept their applications or were disadvantaged by the terms of the PPP. Thousands of businesses owned by people from marginalized communities were also overlooked for funding. The first round of the program had an overwhelming demand leading the SBA to approve $349 billion in loans in just two weeks.

However, many businesses owned by people of color applied to a myriad of financial institutions early in the program and were rejected. Others couldn’t get banks to respond to their inquiries and applications, as we previously reported. 

Fewer than 12% of Wayne County business owners received PPP loans while close to 18% of companies received funding in the US. “We applied [for the PPP] and we didn’t get a thing,” native Detroiter Alonzo Ramon Stallworth, founder and CEO of Th3 Block Development told The ‘Gander, back in January

One project at a time, Stallworth’s company revitalizes defunct Detroit residential neighborhoods. Although he has Detroit roots and his company contributes to the local economy Stallworth was denied for the first round of the government’s COVID-19 PPP. “We filled out the paperwork and they asked me for some more tax forms, and then the communication just went cold,” Stallworth explained. 

Small business owners can apply for a PPP here. The deadline is Tuesday, March 9, at 5p.m. ET.