New PPP loan rollout targets small businesses

DENVER (KDVR) — Ninety-eight percent of  Colorado’s businesses are small establishments, yet they are considered to be underserved when it comes to receiving assistance during the coronavirus pandemic. Now, the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is targeting those businesses to make sure they receive the help they need.

After a year of struggling through quarantines, shut-downs and restrictions, employees at Coffee At The Point café in Denver are happy to be serving anything at all with other businesses struggling as well.

“We used to help supply local businesses with coffee. We’re losing money because now they’re opting out of our business,” Manager Jessica Landwehr said.

Owner Ryan Cobbins has kept the gathering place, located just off Welton Street in the Five Points neighborhood, afloat but admits it has been difficult.

“The toughest thing about the pandemic is how you make ends meet,” Cobbins said. 

Landwehr adds that Cobbins has gone to extremes to make sure his workers have jobs.

“He does not pay himself,” she said.

Help in the form of Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loan access targeted at small businesses could make a difference.

The Colorado Small Business Development Center tells the FOX31 Problem Solvers, establishments with fewer than 20 employees need special focus.

“The SBA is making it a priority to ensure we service the right people, there is stricter auditing on it, making sure those that access the PPP are those that need it the most,” Spokesperson Aikta Marcoulier said.

Under the initiative, qualifying businesses will receive a 14-day priority access window to apply beginning Wednesday. Non-profits are included. The loans are reserved for those experiencing a 25% revenue decrease from pre-pandemic levels.

Cobbins says he appreciates his loyal customers and looks forward to holding large events again at the location.

“We are just so grateful to have a few people, it gives us the sense that we may be getting back to what we call normal,” he said.

The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade reports so far this year, Colorado small businesses have received more than $2.8 billion of round three PPP loans. 

Paycheck Protection Program loans can be converted into grants if eligible recipients use the funds to pay its workers as the program outlines. The priority access window closes March 9, 2021.  For more information visit the Small Business Development Centers and Minority Business Office .