EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – The Biden administration on Monday changed crucial PPP rules. The changes are intended to help the smallest businesses, which have previously struggled to obtain aid. First News at Nine’s Phoebe Murray shares reactions from several small business owners.
On Wednesday, only small businesses with fewer than 20 employees will be able to apply for the federal paycheck protection program. The changes are designed to make it easier for businesses that previously could not qualify. Sole proprietors or businesses with no employees such as the raggedy man, downtown Eau Claire.
Matt Pabich, Raggedy Man owner said, “And so I missed out on that one, which was unfortunate especially hearing a lot of the mega-big businesses that got relief for it.”
Owner Matt Pabich has one employee besides himself. He says the shift to focus specifically on smaller small businesses is a welcomed change of pace.
“Everything’s just been upside down, for everyone and so any support is greatly appreciated, especially kind of hopefully getting into a year that might be a little less, rocky,” said Pabich.
According to the small business association, 98% of small businesses employ fewer than 20 people but have received only 45% of PPP funding this far.
Carl Smiske and his wife, Cassie own the Chippewa store in downtown Chippewa Falls. They did not qualify for the forgivable loan the first time around either.
Smiske said, “The government started giving out these loans and right away I didn’t qualify for any of them so what do you do, you start hustling and you start networking.”
Smiske says he’ll apply again but has reservations.
“If I got bills coming up, I’m not going to depend on that payment to help me with the bills so I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing. And if it comes in, great I’ll save it and use it to get caught up but I’m not going to use it as a complete lifeline because I don’t think it’s still enough to completely take over what I’ve already invested here,” said Smiske.
Phoebe Murray First News at Nine.
To reiterate, bigger applicants face a two-week pause starting today. The small business administration will accept applications for forgivable PPP loans from only firms with fewer than 20 employees.