CARES Act Readiness Program helping Arizona small businesses access economic lifeline

As Gov. Doug Ducey continues to deliver new guidance for the reopening of the Arizona economy and as Arizona prepares to return stronger, new data from the Small Business Administration indicates the state’s small businesses are accessing an important economic lifeline.

According to the SBA, nearly 44,000 Arizona small businesses have been approved for $3.7 billion in loans in the latest round of the Paycheck Protection Program, placing the state within the top 15 for both number of businesses and funds approved.

Combined with the first round of funding, that means more than 63,000 small businesses in Arizona have been approved for over $8.5 billion in PPP loans.

PPP funds are designed to help businesses keep employees on the payroll, to make rent payments and pay utilities. Most loans are forgivable, meaning the program acts more like a grant than a loan.

If your business has not yet been approved or if you have not yet applied, it is estimated that $135 billion in funds still remain, so qualified businesses are urged to apply as soon as possible.

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry is here to help. We have joined forces with the Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA) to launch the CARES Act Readiness Program for Small Businesses, a free online training to help small businesses access the capital they need. We’re also proud to count the SBA Arizona District Office and Arizona Commerce Authority as partners.

And better yet, the training program is completely free, and is designed to help both novice and experienced borrowers successfully access relief funds. The overall goal of the program is to increase access to relief funds throughout Arizona by providing the training in both English and Spanish.

In this same vein of access, a partnership was formed with Acronis #CyberFit Financing and Lendio to help those small businesses with limited lending options. Lendio is a free online marketplace that streamlines the SBA application process for eligible small businesses to access relief funds and provides other lending options through its network of over 75 lenders offering multiple loan products for small businesses.

Options like Lendio have proved essential to small businesses participating in the CARES Act Readiness Program, especially those from underbanked communities in Arizona.

Participants are already reporting positive results through our program, and we’re looking forward to many more Arizona small businesses getting the information and training they need not only to keep their doors open, but to continue to thrive.

More information is available at www.caresactaz.com, or in Spanish at caresactaz.com/espanol. To partner with us to amplify this program in your network, please contact Laura Ciscomani at lciscomani@azchamber.com.

Laura Ciscomani is the Director of Development for the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry

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