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How To Keep Your Small Business Healthy During Pandemic

How to keep your small business healthy during pandemic

Updated Sept. 23, 2020, at 11:48 a.m. CT

If you’re a small business owner, you’re navigating unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How do you keep your employees, customers and business healthy?

More resources and programs continue to emerge to help small business owners like you. We’ll keep you updated here as federal, state and local agencies respond with more assistance.

And, as always, you can contact your credit union for financial guidance on your business.


The USDA announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 for agricultural producers who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs because of COVID-19.

The financial assistance will give producers the ability to absorb some of the increased marketing costs associated with the pandemic. USDA will accept CFAP 2 applications Sept. 21-Dec. 11, 2020. You can learn more about the program here.

CARES Act: Paycheck Protection Program

If you received a Paycheck Protection Program loan to help your small business, your loan might be eligible for forgiveness.

But it’s important to think carefully about what’s in your best interest—repaying the loan or applying for forgiveness.

You can use these questions to start weighing your options and learn more about the loan forgiveness program.

Small Business Administration Disaster Assistance

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering a low-interest loan to small business owners suffering substantial economic injury from the pandemic.

The Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance—and can provide vital economic support to help you overcome the temporary loss of revenue you’re experiencing.

The loans may be used to pay:

  • Fixed debts
  • Payroll
  • Accounts payable
  • Other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact and are not already covered by a Paycheck Protection Program loan.

Small Business Survival Coaching

Dupaco partnered with the Creative Adventure Lab’s Innovation Lab to provide free Small Business Survival Coaching to community nonprofits and Dupaco small business members. The virtual sessions were available through June 30.

The Innovation Lab specializes in helping entrepreneurs and existing businesses use creativity and innovation to be successful. In response to the pandemic, the Dubuque nonprofit organization’s business coaching team helped participants develop an outbreak survival plan through a series of one-on-one sessions.

“We know the COVID-19 slowdown is creating strain for many businesses and not-for-profit organizations in our community,” said Dupaco Chief Marketing Officer David Klavitter. “In addition to ongoing coaching and services to small businesses, Dupaco wants to ensure our not-for-profits can continue their critical service roles.”

Interest-only business loan payments

In response to the pandemic, Dupaco is temporarily offering interest-only payments on qualified business member loans.

To learn more about this option, or request it, call the credit union at 800-373-7600.

Dupaco business Visa credit card

Dupaco’s business Visa credit card gives you access to a low, variable interest rate to help you keep your business running smoothly.

You can monitor account activity online to watch out for fraud.

The credit card application is available through Dupaco’s drive-up lanes and by calling 800-373-7600.

COVID-19 Agriculture Relief Programs

Eligible Iowa farmers, producers and biofuel producers impacted by COVID-19 can apply for relief funding through an extension of the Iowa Small Business Relief Grant Program.

But the application window is available for a limited time.

Governor Reynolds allocated federal CARES Act funds to these ag relief programs:

  • Iowa Beginning Farmer Debt Relief Fund: The application period is 8 a.m. Aug. 31 until funds are exhausted.
  • Iowa Livestock Producer Relief Fund: The application window is 8 a.m. Aug. 31-5 p.m. Sept. 14.
  • Iowa Biofuels Relief Program: The application window is 8 a.m. Aug. 31- 5 p.m. Sept. 14.

Learn more about these programs and eligibility requirements on Iowa Economic Development’s website.

Small Business Utility Disruption Prevention Program

The new Small Business Utility Disruption Prevention Program will provide short-term relief to eligible small businesses and nonprofits that faced significant hardship in the payment of utility bills for service provided during the disruption to their business due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority announced the launch of the program July 17. The program offers grants up to $7,500 to be applied to utility bill debt for eligible small businesses.

Governor Reynolds allocated federal CARES Act funds for this initiative. To be eligible for assistance, businesses must have:

  • A physical location (non-residential) in Iowa and 50 or fewer employees.
  • Not received funding from the state of Iowa’s Small Business Relief Grant.
  • Experienced a COVID-19 loss of revenue on or after March 17, 2020, that resulted in unpaid bills for electric or natural gas service provided between March 17, 2020, and June 30, 2020.
  • Remained in operation or reopened at the time of application.

For the full guidelines and information on how to apply, visit

Applications will be accepted until Aug. 21, 2020, or until funding is depleted, whichever comes first.

Bridge Loan Program for Dubuque Businesses

Dubuque Initiatives made $2 million available to small businesses during the COVID-19 crisis.

Bridge financing of up to $10,000 will be available to eligible Dubuque companies with 2-50 employees, according to Greater Dubuque Development Corp.

Businesses can apply for assistance by calling the COVID-19 helpline at (563) 588-3350. Qualifying businesses will be referred to East Central Intergovernmental Association, which will walk you through the application process.

Among other eligibility guidelines, your business must:

  • Have a physical location or storefront within the city of Dubuque.
  • Be qualified for assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program or the Economic Injury Disaster Loan; or had qualified for the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Iowa Small Business Relief Fund.

No interest or fees will be charged for 60 days. Upon receipt of state or federal assistance, you’ll repay the loan to Dubuque Initiatives. If your business applies but doesn’t receive state or federal assistance, the bridge loan will be converted to a three-year, low-interest loan.

Independent contractors, self-employed individuals, non-profits, franchises and chains are ineligible for this loan.

Iowa Small Business Relief Program

The Iowa Small Business Relief Program provided financial assistance to small businesses economically impacted by the pandemic. The program offered grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000, in addition to offering a deferral of sales and use or withholding taxes due and waiver of penalty and interest to eligible businesses.

Funds can be used to:

  • Maintain operations
  • Reopen business following the COVID-19 pandemic

The application deadline was Tuesday, March 31.

ICUF Small Business Emergency Relief Fund Grants

The Iowa Credit Union Foundation provided $500 grants to eligible credit union members, including both individuals and small business owners, experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19.

Applications for the Emergency Relief Fund grants became available April 1. The funds were available on a first-come, first-serve basis and were subject to availability. The deadline to apply was April 3, 2020.

Targeted Small Business Sole Operator Fund

The Targeted Small Business Sole Operator Fund offers financial assistance for Targeted Small Businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Iowa Economic Development.

Targeted Small Businesses include women, individuals with minority status, service-connected disabled veterans and individuals with disabilities who are starting or growing a small business in Iowa.

The program offers eligible small businesses grants up to $10,000.

To be eligible, businesses must have single owners with no employees that are also Targeted Small Business certified or have an application submitted to the Iowa Economic Development Authority by April 10, 2020, to become certified.

Applications will be processed until all funds are exhausted.

Iowa Economic Development

Iowa Economic Development created a COVID-19: Iowa Business Recovery Assistance webpage to provide its partners with resources and information.

You’ll find everything from financial assistance, news about the pandemic’s impact on Iowa businesses and other business resource guides.

Small Business Helpline

The Greater Dubuque Development Corporation, Northeast Iowa Community College and Dubuque Small Business Development Center established a Small Business Helpline.

The resource is available to help you apply for funding assistance for your local small business during the COVID-19 emergency.

You can call the helpline between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday-Friday at (563) 588-3355, or email

Wisconsin Economic Development

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation created a webpage to help Wisconsin business owners.

The page features resources available to Wisconsin businesses from WEDC and other local, state and federal agencies.

Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity

The Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity created a webpage to help Illinois small businesses.

The department regularly updates the page with the latest programs available, including the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund. The program will offer small businesses low-interest loans of up to $50,000 to support working capital.

Recipients will owe nothing for six months and will then begin making fixed payments at a below-market interest rate for the remainder of the five-year term.

You can express interest in the loan on a form here. Eligible businesses were invited to submit a full application beginning April 1.

Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program

The state of Illinois adjusted its Community Development Block Grant allocations to benefit more small businesses impacted by the outbreak.

The $20 million Downstate Small Business Stabilization program will provide working capital funds to eligible businesses.

The program is available to private for-profit small retail and service businesses or businesses considered non-essential by the Governor’s Executive Order without the ability for employees to work remotely.

The business must employ 50 people or less, including the owner.

The program will award recipients up to $25,000. Funds can be used for:

  • Employee salaries
  • General operating expenses
  • Inventory
  • Advertising/marketing expenses

Facebook Small Business Grants Program

Facebook will offer financial relief through its Small Business Grants Program.

The social networking company will offer $100 million in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in more than 30 countries.

You can use the program to help:

  • Keep your workforce going strong
  • Help with your rent costs
  • Connect with more customers
  • Cover operational costs

You can find available locations here.

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