June Update from the Alaska SBDC Executive Director

The last two weeks have seen a number of new developments for small businesses across Alaska. On June 1st the state launched its Alaska Cares grant program in partnership with Credit Union 1 to provide $5,000 – $100,000 grants to Alaskan businesses that haven’t received any funding from the federal CARES Act business programs. The Alaska SBDC is proud to be an official technical advisor for the program along with the Alaska Regional Development Organizations (ARDORS). This program is going to provide much-needed grants to businesses across the state that were unable to access any of the federal funds available and will help more Alaskans keep their livelihoods.

For businesses that have received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, the Federal government recently passed H.R. 7010 which makes several substantial changes to the program including extending the repayment period from eight weeks to twenty-four weeks. It also lowers the required amount that must be spent on payroll to qualify for forgiveness from 75% to 60% and extends the loan term on any non-forgiven funding from two years to five. All of these changes will make the PPP more accessible and business-friendly for the 10,265 Alaskan businesses who have already received a PPP and businesses that are still applying.

State and Federal programs aren’t the only sources of funding that businesses can access, local governments are soon going to be launching a number of their own localized funding programs across the state. Out of the $1.2 billion the state of Alaska received through the federal CARES Act, $565 million went directly to local governments to fund COVID-19 related programs and expenses including business support programs. Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Mat-Su, Kenai, Barrow, and many other communities are already planning on launching their programs over the next month to support businesses that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. The Alaska SBDC is assisting these programs and communities across Alaska and stands ready to support and promote these fantastic opportunities to businesses as they become available.

As things start opening back up and businesses start serving clients and customers again, it’s important to remember that it’s never been more important to Buy Alaska. From farmer’s markets to corner stores, fishing charters to graphic design firms, Alaskan businesses need your help now more than ever. I hope that you take this opportunity to do all those Alaskan adventures you never get around to because there are too many tourists, eat out at that restaurant you’ve heard so much about, have someone come to finish up those home improvements you’ve been putting off, and all of the other ways you can support Alaskan businesses and help our economy. It’s true that we’re in for a rough year, but if we come together and support each other I believe we can come through this stronger than before.

As always, if there’s anything the SBDC can do to help you and your business, please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask!

Jon Bittner
Alaska SBDC Executive Director
COVID-19 Resource Center