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There's still time to get a PPP loan, minority-owned firms told

On Tuesday, advocates called for small businesses and minority business owners to apply for PPP loans before the deadline expires on August 8, 2020. Credit: Newsday / Chris Ware

Anthony Barrett is pursuing every small-business financing option that he can to keep his OK Petroleum service station open on Route 109 in Lindenhurst.

Barrett is seeking donations via GoFundMe.com and welcomes the help of experts in securing a federal coronavirus loan. He said he’s been turned down for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan and a Paycheck Protection Loan – but isn’t giving up on either.

“I was unable to acquire a PPP or an EIDL,” he said Tuesday outside his gas station at a news conference with local business and economic development officials. “My business has been placed in jeopardy…We are literally hanging on by a thread.”

Small-business owners and nonprofits hit by the coronavirus pandemic have until Aug. 8 to apply for the PPP, which still has more than $131 billion in federal guarantees for banks and private lenders to use in making the loans.

Eric Alexander, founder of the downtown advocacy group, LI Main Street Alliance, said minority-owned businesses and the smallest small businesses have largely been left out of the PPP. “But it’s not too late,” he said in an interview. “We have 18 days to do something, to redouble our efforts to address the disparity in PPP utilization.”

More than 60,000 small businesses and nonprofits in Nassau and Suffolk counties had secured PPP loans as of June 30, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration and Department of Treasury, which oversee the program.

In Lindenhurst on Tuesday, Edna White, president of the Greater Gordon Heights Chamber of Commerce, said the PPP has the potential to “get our small businesses back up and running, and spark communities to move toward economic recovery” if potential borrowers are successful.

The Long Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has held multiple Zoom meetings about the PPP and other financing programs for Spanish-speaking and bilingual entrepreneurs, said chamber president Luis Vasquez.

"Working together we will accomplish our business goals to get these resources to our small businesses," he said.

The PPP consists of federally guaranteed loans of up to $10 million with an interest rate of 1% and a five-year term. The loans may be forgiven in some cases, and borrowers must have 500 or fewer employees. Newsday received a PPP loan.

A list of financial institutions making PPP loans may be found at nwsdy.li/lenders.

More information about the program is at nwsdy.li/PPPinfo.

SBA “has been working non-stop since March with Long Island small businesses, lending partners, SBA Resource Partners, Chambers of Commerce, elected officials at all levels of government, and the media to ensure that every small business owner and non-profit has access to and timely information about the PPP,” said Matt Coleman, communications director for the agency’s Region II, which includes New York State.

Besides loans, Barrett said small-business owners need their customers to return. “It’s never been more important than now to support your local businesses,” he said. “Without you as our customer, we cease to exist.”

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