Author: davidzak1

8 employer resources to share with people laid off

This information was put together by the Seneca County Department of Job & Family Services. The first video shows people how to apply for unemployment benefits, with additional resources following it on a variety of relevant topics.

  • Worker’s Self-Service User Guide – this has screen shots showing how to apply for UC and how to file weekly claims.
  • Worker’s Guide to UC to answer unemployment questions
  • Coronavirus and Unemployment Benefits – Q & A page
  • Employee Guide – OhioMeansJobs sent this handout to a local manufacturer to give to employees who want to know how work will affect their unemployment. Please note – When a benefit is calculated, claimants will get correspondence telling them for how many weeks they are eligible and the total claim amount (the weekly benefit amount x the number of eligible weeks). The total claim amount can be collected over a period of 52 weeks. Therefore, if the individual is partially eligible or ineligible for a week of benefits due to wages, the amount not used can actually extend the number of weeks of benefits. The uncollected amount of a weekly benefit remains in the total benefit amount and can still be collected.
  • Seneca County Job and Family Services website: This has a Self-Service Portal to use to apply for cash, medical, and SNAP (Food Stamp) benefits.
  • Prevention, Retention, & Contingency (PRC) benefits: The Prevention, Retention, and Contingency (PRC) Program, is designed to provide benefits and services to eligible households with at least one minor child to overcome barriers to achieving or maintaining self-sufficiency and personal responsibility). This page gives an overview of the basic services and an application that can be downloaded.
  • Emergency Home Energy Assistance Program (E-HEAP): This program helps with utility payments and is administered by the Great Lakes Community Action Partnership. The program was to expire 3/31/2020 but has been extended to 5/1/2020. This was verified on 3/26/2020.
  • Employers (not individuals) should contact Carol Kern, Business Services Liaison with OhioMeansJobs Seneca County, if they have any questions – Carol.Owen@jfs.ohio.gov or 419.680.3041 (cell).

SBA Resource Page – Stimulus & Disaster Loans

Updated 4:30 pm, March 26, 2020.

As the information about SBA programs to help businesses have grown, we decided to pull it all into one page for easy reference. There are three main initiatives:

1. Economic Injury Disaster Loans – available now

A webinar is getting set up for this Friday, 3/27/2020 with SBA Lending Officer, Ray Graves (more information to come). Ohio for-profit and not-for-profit businesses can apply for these low interest (3.75% for profit, 2.75% not for profit), long-term (up to 30 years) working capital loans if they can’t find credit anywhere else (see press release). Here is more information:

2. Stimulus Programs

Here are a couple good references for the new SBA programs that are potentially coming down the pike, including the Paycheck Protection Program (zero-fee loan up to $10M, where 8 weeks of average payroll and other costs will be forgiven and principal and interest deferred for a year), and the Emergency Economic Injury Grants ($10,000 advance if a small business applies for an EIDL that does not need to be repaid).

3. Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

The SBDC at Terra State Community College covers Seneca County (and others). They provide free business counseling, and their website provides webinars on the EIDL program. The Director is Bill Auxter, and he can be reached at bauxter@terra.edu or by phone at 419.559.2210.

Coronavirus Resources for Manufacturers

Thanks to the great work being done by the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, this section has continued to grow, and we moved the resources here.

1. Ohio Manufacturers’ Association (OMA) – The OMA has been very proactive in getting information out about the coronavirus that is targeted and helpful to manufacturers. Here are some of the best resources:

  • Ohio Manufacturers’ Association COVID-19 Resources page
  • OMA Analysis of Stay-At-Home for Manufacturers by Bricker & Eckler.
  • OMA Briefing (3/23/2020) – one hour briefing – listen here.
  • OMA Conference Call (3/25/2020 – Lt. Governor Jon Husted and a panel of experts discuss various topics – listen here.

2. National Association of Manufacturers Resources Page – additional coronavirus resources.

3. Export Programs – Check out the Ohio Development Services Agency’s new export assistance programs, including virtual consulting. Read more here. (9 Resources)

4. Helping Other Businesses – The Ohio Third Frontier is asking for anyone that can assist in making needed products should contact Scott Ryan, Deputy Chief/Executive Director at 614.466.5675 or Scott.Ryan@development.ohio.gov. We also have a Local Business Helping Local Business survey.

5. Impact Surveys – Manufacturers can tell the State and JobsOhio how this pandemic has negatively impacted business, which in turn will influence policy. There is also a Local Business Helping Local Business survey. Take the surveys here.

Ohio’s Stay at Home Order – informational resources

Given that the Ohio Department of Health just issued new guidance documents for ten specific industries, we thought it made sense to consolidate all “stay at home” resources into one page.

Here are some of the foundational documents:

Here are the new Ohio Dept. of Health industry-specific guidance sheets regarding stay-at-home:

Here is an analysis by the Ohio Manufacturers Association for manufacturers:

  • OMA Analysis of Stay-At-Home for Manufacturers by Bricker & Eckler

Open letter to businesses from Health Commissioner Schweitzer

We received this letter yesterday (3/25/2020) from Beth Schweitzer, the Seneca County (Ohio) Health Commissioner, and she asked if we could publish and send it out. We were happy to agree, and we appreciate her leadership and the Seneca County General Health District in this difficult time.

Dear Business and Industry Owners in Seneca County,

As your health commissioner here in Seneca County I am charged with doing all in my power to protect the health of my citizens.  You as employers are crucial in my effort to prevent the spread of COVID – 19 and prevent adverse outcomes from this pandemic.

I am going to stress what you must do as a responsible employer.  Please follow the guidance I am providing below:

  • Make sure you provide the opportunity for your employees to follow the social distancing rule of no less than six feet apart while working and while taking their breaks.  Do not allow employees to congregate in the lunch or break room.
  • Please have available hand sanitizer and allow employees to break to wash hands regularly.
  • Be diligent in cleaning surfaces that are touched frequently by multiple people.  I have read that the virus can live on stainless steel for two days and on plastic for three.  This is crucial.
  • Be generous with sick time for employees.  Employees should not come to work when sick.  You should be monitoring temperatures before they walk into the work place.  Ask your employees how they are feeling.  Please care about them.
  • If you are not an essential business, please,  you must follow the Director of Health’s order as of 11:59 p.m. on March 23, 2020 and close.

I truly hope you will read this and heed these requirements above.  Can you think of anything better than knowing your actions saved a life?

Yours truly,

Beth Schweitzer

5 New SBA Programs to help businesses in the stimulus package

This press release comes from the US Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurs. It looks like it may go to the house for a vote tomorrow (Friday, March 27, 2020).

Cardin, Bipartisan Senate Task Force Secure $377 Billion for Small Businesses

March 25, 2020

(Washington, DC)—U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Small Business Committee and a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, today issued a statement on the $2 trillion economic stimulus agreed to by Congressional leaders. The stimulus package includes $377 billion in funding to support small businesses secured by Cardin, Small Business Committee Chairman Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Senate Aging Committee Chairwoman Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies.

“American small businesses are facing an existential threat. The unprecedented public health measures cities and states have taken to slow the spread of the COVID-19, while necessary to protect public health, are having a tremendous impact on small businesses in every community in America,” Ranking Member Cardin said. “Congress has a duty to ensure that America’s 30 million small businesses, and the 60 million people they employ, are not forced to bear the financial costs of keeping our communities safe on their own. I am grateful that Chairman Rubio, Senators Collins and Shaheen, and I were able to reach a bipartisan agreement to include $377 billion in support for small businesses in the stimulus.”

Prominent measures in the Keeping American Workers Employed and Paid Act and the COVID-19 RELIEF for Small Businesses Act of 2020 make up Division A of the stimulus, which is titled the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

A description of the small business provisions in the stimulus follows:

Paycheck Protection Program

The stimulus includes nearly $350 billion in funding for a provision to create a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that will provide small businesses and other entities with zero-fee loans of up to $10 million. Up to 8 weeks of average payroll and other costs will be forgiven if the business retains its employees and their salary levels. Principal and interest is deferred for up to a year and all borrower fees are waived. This temporary emergency assistance through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Department of Treasury can be used in coordination with other COVID-financing assistance established in the bill or any other existing SBA loan program.

The bill requires the SBA Administrator to set a cap on how much a bank can earn to process loan applications and prioritize underserved borrowers, including those in rural communities, minorities, women and veterans.

Emergency Economic Injury Grants

The stimulus includes $10 billion in funding for a provision to provide an advance of $10,000 to small businesses and nonprofits that apply for an SBA economic injury disaster loan (EIDL) within three days of applying for the loan. EIDLs are loans of up to $2 million that carry interest rates up to 3.75 percent for companies and up to 2.75 percent for nonprofits, as well as principal and interest deferment for up to 4 years. The loans may be used to pay for expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred, including payroll and other operating expenses.

The EIDL grant does not need to be repaid, even if the grantee is subsequently denied an EIDL, and may be used to provide paid sick leave to employees, maintaining payroll, meet increased production costs due to supply chain disruptions, or pay business obligations, including debts, rent and mortgage payments. Eligible grant recipients must have been in operation on January 31, 2020. The grant is available to small businesses, private nonprofits, sole proprietors and independent contractors, tribal businesses, as well ascooperatives and employee-owned businesses.

A business that receives an EIDL between January 31, 2020 and June 30, 2020 as a result of a COVID-19 disaster declaration is eligible to apply for a PPP loan or the business may refinance their EIDL into a PPP loan. In either case, the emergency EIDL grant award of up to $10,000 would be subtracted from the amount forgiven in the Paycheck Protection Plan.

The bill provides $562 million to ensure that SBA has the resources to provide Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) to businesses that need financial support.

Debt Relief for Existing and New SBA Borrowers

The stimulus includes $17 billion in funding for a provision to provide immediate relief to small businesses with standard SBA 7(a), 504, or microloans. Under this provision, SBA will cover all loan payments for existing SBA borrowers, including principal, interest, and fees, for six months. This relief will also be available to new borrowers who take out an SBA loan within six months after the President signs the bill. The measure also encourages banks to provide further relief to small business borrowers by allowing them to extend the duration of existing loans beyond existing limits; and enables small business lenders to assist more new and existing borrowers by providing a temporary extension on certain reporting requirements. While SBA borrowers are receiving the six months debt relief, they may apply for a PPP loan that provides capital to keep their employees on the job. The six months of SBA payment relief may not be applied to payments on PPP loans. 

The stimulus also includes a permanent fix that allows SBA to waive fees for veterans and their spouses in the 7(a) Express Loan Program, regardless of the President’s budget. Under current law, SBA may only waive fees on 7(a) Express loans to veterans when the President’s budget does not project a cost above zero for the overall 7(a) loan program.

Paid Leave for Government Contractors

The stimulus includes a provision that provides paid leave for employees working on small business contracts with the federal government. The measure allows agencies to modify the terms of a contract to reimburse small business contractors for the cost of providing paid leave, including sick leave, to employees or subcontractors unable to perform work on-site due to a facility closure and cannot telework.

Resources for Business Counseling Services

Many large companies are struggling to respond to the unprecedented economic disruption our nation is facing, so small businesses that have even fewer resources to dedicate to navigating the economic impacts of COVID-19 must have access to reliable counseling and mentorship services.

The stimulus provides $275 million in grants to the nation’s network of Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) and Women’s Business Centers (WBCs), as well as the Minority Business Development Agency’s Business Centers (MBDCs), to provide mentorship, guidance and expertise to small businesses. The funding will allow SBDCs, WBCs, and MBDCs to hire staff and provide programming to help small businesses and minority-owned businesses respond to COVID-19.

The bill also provides funds for the associations that represent SBDCs and WBCs to create a joint platform that consolidates information and resources related to COVID-19 in order to provide consistent, timely information to small businesses.

The SCORE mentoring program and Veterans Business Outreach Center program are encouraged to use the platform and participate in the COVID-19 education sessions for their volunteer mentors and small business counselors.  

March 27 – SBA Webinar on Disaster Loans

Updated 11:30 am on 3/27/2020.

This Friday (March 27, 2020) at 10:00 am, Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership and the Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce –together with economic development agencies in Fostoria, Wyandot County, Crawford County, Sandusky County, and Huron County– hosted a regional webinar with Ray Graves, Lender Relations Specialist with the US Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Cleveland Office. I appreciate all the good work Gil Goldberg, Jim Donato, Ray and the rest of the team there for all they do.

Contact Information:

  • Ray Graves, Lender Relations Specialist, Cleveland SBA – Raymond.Graves@sba.gov, (216) 522-4192, Cell (312) 203-5099
  • Bill Auxter, Certified Business Advisor, Ohio Small Business Development Center, bauxter@terra.edu, 419-559-2210.

Slide Deck:

Summary of Webinar:

Lender Relations Specialist Ray Graves provided an overview to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, talked about how to apply for one, and answered questions from webinar participants. Graves joined the Cleveland office of the SBA in 2013, and has been working to help businesses obtain SBA financing since 1999.

Thousands of Ohio companies are suffering because of the coronavirus pandemic. Ohio companies can now apply to the federal government for low-interest, long-term loan to help. The program is called the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan, and it can provide up to $2 million in funding, with a term of up to 30 years. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. Loan rates are expected to be 3.75% for businesses and 2.75% for non-profits with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable. Terms will be determined on a case by case basis.

State announces new export assistance programs

This week, the Ohio Development Services Agency introduced several new export assistance programs and are promoting some great resources through the Food Export Association of the Midwest. Companies thinking about starting to export or wanting to increase their exports should review them:

1. NEW – Virtual Consultations – 30-minute one-on-one video consultations with one of the In-Market Representatives at the Ohio Development Services Agency. These sessions are meant to help you explore questions related to export plans and market expansion. During your session, you will have the opportunity to receive answers to predetermined market-specific questions. Our in-market experts will do their best to answer your questions and deliver valuable feedback to help you achieve export success.

2. NEW – Lead Qualification helps in qualifying foreign buyer leads from trade shows or other sources. Our In-Market Representatives will vet the buyer and provide a report to help you determine if you want to move forward with the lead. Lead Qualification Service allows you to use market research and data available to our In-Market Representatives to prioritize leads after an event.

3. Market Builder – Finding the right market and buyer for your product is the key to exporting success. Exporters who are looking to secure their product in an international market, find new distributors or importers, and/or receive valuable feedback about their product can take advantage of our Market Builder service. This one-of-a-kind service offers packages especially designed to an exporter’s needs and wants. Market Builder provides customized research to help your company uncover potential in international markets. It has two components:

  • Market Scan: This service draws on In-Market Representatives’ expertise to provide in-depth market research for a specific product. It includes: Store Check and Distribution Analysis, Competitive Product Shopping, Importation Analysis, Distributor Referrals, Target Importer List.
  • Rep Finder: Our In-Market Representative facilitates direct meetings between your company and a select group of targeted importers. It includes: In-Market Assistance, Distributor Referrals, Target Importer List.

4. Educational Resources – ODSA offers a lot of online resources, businesses can take advantage of now.

  • Export Intelligence Video Series – This video series is a great overview of all the opportunities the Food Export Association of the Midwest offers. From country-specific videos to an inside tour of a Buyers Mission, this video series is a great place for new companies to begin their export experience.
  • Export Essentials Online Modules – This self-paced, interactive 12-module series provides a holistic view of many of the intricacies of exporting. Learn how to Navigate Export Regulation, Prepare for Meetings with Buyers, how to Use Market Research for Competitive Advantage, and more.
  • Webinars – Food Export of the Midwest and Food Export of the Northeast offer a series of educational webinars to help companies build their export capacity. Webinars provide up-to-date exporter intelligence for companies regarding specific markets, logistics, trade financing, documentation, how to meet and follow up with foreign buyers and much more. Food Export’s webinars are complimentary to interested individuals.

5. Food Export Helpline – Whether you’re new to exporting or have experience, there are always specific issues and questions that are unique to your company, products, and export markets. With the Food Export Helpline™, you’ll speak with an industry expert who will put more than 34 years of experience to work for you. There are no canned answers, only insightful, customized advice specifically for you.

6. Food Export Branded funding for 2020 – Through the Food Export Association of the Midwest, the Branded Program supports U.S. food and agricultural companies’ international marketing efforts by reimbursing 50 percent of approved expenses used for international marketing and promotional activities. Eligible expenses for cost share and reimbursement include but are not limited to advertisements and publications, international trade shows, promotions, public relations and seminars. Please complete your prequalification and application. This will increase your chances to secure the funding you need to build the appropriate international marketing budget.

7. Export Consulting – Sabrina d’Onofrio heads up the Northwest Ohio office of the Export Assistance Network. For more information and for assistance in accessing any state exporting resources, please feel free to contact her at sabrina.donofrio@toledochamber.com or by phone at (419) 243-8191.

Businesses impacted by coronavirus – let your voice be heard

Businesses in Tiffin and rural Seneca County – we need your help! We have three online surveys related to the coronavirus pandemic we want you to fill out that will take 10 minutes or less each. It will be used to develop programs, policy, and local resources to help you and your fellow business neighbors.

Here are the surveys. They are all independent of each other, so please fill out each one.

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Videos & Conference Call

This week, we put together a post that serves as a Guide to the Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the US Small Business Administration (SBA). We also wanted to provide more details in the form of videos available on the Internet now. It provides a high-level overview of the program, the process, and the required documentation. In this post, we wanted to provide what we think are three great videos that go into more in-depth into various aspects of the program.

1. How to register on the SBA site and start your application – this video actually goes through the registration process online so you can follow along and do it, too.

2. Official SBA Guide to Recovery Assistance – this video covers both physical disaster for individuals as well as for businesses. I recommend starting at or going to the 10:30 mark, where they start talking about the Economic Injury Disaster Loans, and then to the 19:00 mark, where they zero in on business applicants.

3. Conference Call with SBA Officials – this recording of a conference call by the Vegas Chamber goes into a lot of “behind-the-scenes” detail on items like how the loan terms are determined, and there is a good Q&A.