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Financial Resources for Small Businesses

Update: Business Interruption Grant Program for the Arkansas Service and Hospitality Industries

The Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism (ADPHT), the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC), and the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) received approval to proceed with a grant program utilizing $50 million in CARES Act funds for Arkansas businesses in industries significantly impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The Arkansas Legislative Council this morning approved a business interruption grant for certain Arkansas businesses in the personal care, tourism, travel, recreation and hospitality industries. The grant will provide reimbursement for a portion of specific eligible expenses incurred by businesses in these industries between March 1 and Sept. 30, 2020.

The grant application period will open Monday, Nov. 16, and close Wednesday, Nov. 25. Grants will be awarded on a prorated basis depending on the total number of applicants and the amount of reimbursement requested. The program anticipates making grant awards in late December.

Learn more >


U.S Small Business Administration

Funding options include the Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loans, SBA Express Bridge Loans and SBA Debt Relief. The SBA has launched a new, streamlined relief page for businesses HERE.


The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed by President Trump on March 27. The timely implementation is critical to millions of small businesses and self-employed Americans across the nation. See the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council's guide What’s in the Cares Act for Small Businesses, the Self-Employed and Gig Workers here, which covers key details and the links for further specifics. While specific procedures for applying for the new emergency loans are still being written by the SBA, Congressman French Hill and Edward Haddock of the SBA hosted a Facebook live stream discussing the CARES Act and what to expect in the coming days. Watch the video chat >

On Saturday, July 4, President Trump signed a new law extending the deadline for applying for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan from June 30 to August 8. This extension comes on the heels of new Interim Final Rules (IFR) issued by the Small Business Administration (SBA) on June 22, clarifying some issues and attempting to make complete loan forgiveness attainable for most borrowers.

Main Street Lending Program

The Federal Reserve established the Main Street Lending Program (Program) to support lending to small and medium-sized businesses that were in sound financial condition before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Program will operate through three facilities: the Main Street New Loan Facility (MSNLF), the Main Street Priority Loan Facility (MSPLF), and the Main Street Expanded Loan Facility (MSELF). Learn more >

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

The House and Senate have passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and President Trump signed this $100 billion bill on March 19. It will go into effect on April 2. It addresses the need for temporary paid employee sick and family leave, as well as other support programs to help individuals and families cope with COVID-19 disruptions. Learn more HERE.

Arkansas Small Business & Technology Development Center (ASBTDC)

ASBTDC is gearing up to be set up as a virtual emergency site to help with disaster relief lending. For more information on ASTBC, please see where they will be putting more information disaster funding assistance. You can also call ASBTDC at 1-800-862-2040 or e-mail at

City of Little Rock Emergency Relief Program

The city has developed an emergency relief program, funded by the CARES Act from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant Program. Small businesses, including sole proprietorships, corporations, or limited liability corporations, that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 may apply for a forgivable loan up to $5,000 at zero interest. There are no payments during the first year. If jobs are retained, created, or restored and still exist after one year, the loan is forgiven upon verification. Learn more >

City of North Little Rock COVID-19 Small Business Economic Support Fund

This program is made possible with funding provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant – Coronavirus (CDBG-CV) Program. The primary objectives of the program are to assist small businesses and low-to-moderate income (LMI) households. This fund is to be used as temporary gap financing. Learn more >


Financial Relief for Minorities and Specific Industries


Arkansas Black Hall of Fame Foundation COVID-19 Relief Initiative

The ABHOF Foundation and the Office of Health Equity at the Arkansas Department of Health have formed a partnership to address hardships caused by the pandemic. The Foundation will provide mini-grants up to $1,000 to assist community organizations in Black and other underserved populations in addressing food insecurity, housing, household finances, physical and mental health care needs, and education of children and families related to COVID-19.  Learn more and apply >


Spanx Red Backpack Fund for Female Entrepreneurs

The SPANX by Sara Blakely Foundation donated $5 million to support female entrepreneurs in the wake of COVID-19 and teamed up with GlobalGiving to establish the Red Backpack Fund. GlobalGiving will be overseeing the fund, making 1,000 grants of $5,000 each to female entrepreneurs in the U.S. to help alleviate the immediate needs and support the long-term recovery of those impacted by this crisis. Apply online >


Artist Relief Grants

Artist Relief will distribute $5,000 grants to artists facing dire financial emergencies due to COVID-19; serve as an ongoing informational resource; and co-launch the COVID-19 Impact Survey for Artists and Creative Workers, designed by Americans for the Arts, to better identify and address the needs of artists. Learn more and apply >



Unemployment and Shared Work


Unemployment Insurance

If you become separated from employment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may file an unemployment insurance claim through the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services (DWS). Gov. Hutchinson said he is directing the commerce department to waive immediate eligibility for unemployment. “This will be a relief to anyone who is laid off, that they can get more quick cash assistance to make sure their families are cared for," Gov. Hutchinson said. File your claim online.


Arkansas Division of Workforce Services

The Shared Work Program available through Arkansas Division of Workforce Services and the Department of Labor is a powerful tool to help you hold your employee team together. It allows an employer to divide available work or hours of work among a specific group(s) of employees in lieu of a layoff, and it allows the employees to receive a portion of their unemployment benefits while working reduced hours. Learn more >


Need more information?

If you have questions about how the chamber can help your business or how you can get involved in growing our regional economy, drop us a line.