The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) emerged early in the pandemic as a top source for business recovery funds. Created and led by the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA), the program offers 100% forgivable loans to eligible businesses as long as the funds are used on eligible expenses, such as payroll, mortgage, rent, utilities, and other vital needs.
During the first round of PPP applications, national data showed that Black-owned businesses were underrepresented in the application pool. Because of this, BRAC began targeted outreach to regional Black-owned businesses to assist in connecting them with local lenders. Over 30 businesses were directly connected to a lender, with many more being connected through word of mouth.
Dezmion Barrow, owner of Premier Landscapes, is one of the business owners who took BRAC up on its offer. We had the chance to interview Barrow to see what he had to say about obtaining a PPP loan and its impact on his business. Read the full interview below.
How did PPP funds help you in your business?
PPP funds allowed me to have the necessary cash reserves to endure economic uncertainty during this pandemic. Many of my clients had to cancel their maintenance agreements and PPP funds aided in sustaining my company’s basic business expenses. I am most grateful for the ability to retain my staff.
How was BRAC able to help connect you with a lender for your PPP loan?
BRAC helped to expedite the process by giving me a list of local PPP providers, one of which was my financial institution. A BRAC staff person connected me directly with a business banker who was well versed in SBA requirements, so my loan process was very smooth.
Why is it so important for Black-owned businesses like yours to take advantage of federal recovery assistance?
It is critically important for Black-owned businesses to take advantage of federal recovery assistance because our community was one of the hardest hit by COVID-19. With our family members out of work and our businesses traditionally locked out of bank lines of credit, PPP can help us keep our doors open as we rebound.
What advice would you give to other small business owners who are seeking capital and assistance to recover and grow their business?
I would encourage every small business to reach out to BRAC or their local chamber because they have a good grasp of the resources and programs available. Time is critical when it comes to rebuilding and their expertise can save you time and increase your success.
Learn more about the Paycheck Protection Program and other stimulus programs at brac.org/recovery.