JSU Advisors Work to Help Local Businesses Survive Pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the US economy, it’s creating an all-hands-on-deck situation for the advisors of JSU’s Small Business Development Center.

“All of our advisors are working tirelessly right now to help small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19,” said small business advisor Cassie Chandler.

Small businesses are vital to Alabama’s economy. According to the Small Business Administration, 99.4 percent of businesses in Alabama are small businesses. Yet, they are most vulnerable during this time of economic uncertainty.

The JSU SBDC is assisting current and prospective business owners in nine counties: Blount, Calhoun, Cherokee, Cleburne, DeKalb, Etowah, Marshall, St. Clair and Talladega.

“Because we are partially funded by the Small Business Administration,” Chandler said, “one of our specific roles is to assist small businesses in applying for disaster loans – in this case, the Economic Injury Disaster Loan.”

All 67 counties in Alabama are now eligible for assistance under the Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration. These loans provide working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19, providing:

  • Loans up to $2 million

  • 3.75 percent fixed interest rate on loans to for-profit companies

  • 2.75 percent fixed interest rate on loans to non-profits

  • Up to 30-year term and amortization, which are determined on case-by-case basis

Financing can be used for fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the pandemic’s impact.

As both a small business advisor and a student in JSU’s Doctor of Emergency Management program, Chandler is monitoring COVID-19 from multiple perspectives. She is working with Dr. Jeff Ryan, JSU emergency management professor and head of the university’s Coronavirus Task Force, to implement a Pandemic Ready program in the community. Its mission is to assist businesses in taking the steps necessary to best prepare for the impact of COVID-19.

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