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COVID EIDL Enhancements, National Small Business Week Speakers and More

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National Small Business Week kicks off on Monday, September 13! There is still time to register for the National Small Business Week Virtual Summit, which takes place September 13 – September 15. There, you will learn new business strategies, meet other business owners, and chat with industry experts. The SBA also recently announced a list of guest speakersincluding, but not limited to, entrepreneur Mark Cuban, Chef José Andrés, and White House Senior Advisor and Director of the Office of Public Engagement Cedric Richmond.

In part, National Small Business Week is made possible due to the support of companies and organizers who serve as co-sponsors. The 2021 co-sponsors have joined the SBA to honor the nation’s 32.5 million small businesses for their perseverance, ingenuity, triumphs, and creativity. See the list of co-sponsors.

On September 9, 2021, Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman announced the following major enhancements to the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program.

  • Increasing the COVID EIDL Cap. The SBA will lift the COVID EIDL cap from $500,000 to $2 million. Loan funds can be used for any normal operating expenses and working capital, including payroll, purchasing equipment, and paying debt.
  • Implementation of a Deferred Payment Period. The SBA will ensure small business owners will not have to begin COVID EIDL repayment until two years after loan origination so that they can get through the pandemic without having to worry about making ends meet.
  • Establishment of a 30-Day Exclusivity Window. To ensure main street businesses have additional time to access these funds, the SBA will implement a 30-day exclusivity window of approving and disbursing funds for loans of $500,000 or less. Approval and disbursement of loans over $500,000 will begin after the 30-day period.
  • Expansion of Eligible Use of Funds. COVID EIDL funds will now be eligible to prepay commercial debt and make payments on federal business debt.
  • Simplification of affiliation requirements. To ease the COVID EIDL application process for small businesses, the SBA has established more simplified affiliation requirements to model those of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

To learn about eligibility and application requirements and how to apply, visit The last day that applications may be received is December 31, 2021. All eligible applicants should file their applications as soon as possible.

Learn more

Small businesses in New York and New Jersey impacted by the remnants of Ida can now apply for SBA disaster assistance. Contact the Customer Service Center for help with your application at 1-800-659-2955 (TTY/TDD: 1-800-877-8339) or

Apply for assistance

Paycheck Protection Program borrowers: If your loan is $150,000 or less, you may be eligible to apply for direct forgiveness through SBA using our online portal. Follow the steps below.

  1. Find out if your lender is participating. 
  2. Watch a video about how to use the portal.
  3. Apply for forgiveness.

For additional information, visit the SBA website.

Thanks to vaccines, small businesses across America have opened back up. Keep the momentum going by getting vaccinated. Find a vaccine provider near you. Learn how businesses can get tax credits for allowing employees to get vaccinated. 

Learn more

Do you own a small business in the construction or service industry? There’s a good chance you’ll need a surety bond for public contracts. SBA guarantees bid, performance, and payment surety bonds issued by certain surety companies. Watch this short video to learn more about the SBA Surety Bond Guarantee Program.

Thinking about government contracting opportunities for your small business? Register for the ChallengeHER webinar on September 23, 2021, for information and resources to help you get started.