ESCONDIDO – Recently released data by the federal government revealed that more than 2,000 Escondido businesses received federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans designed to help small businesses financially impacted by the COVID-19 shutdowns.
The PPP was created by the Small Business Administration (SBA) as part of the $2 trillion CARES Act that was signed into law back in March. Since then, it has allocated $659 billion to American businesses in the form of loans.
According to the report, more than 300 businesses in Escondido received large loans of $150,000 or more. The highest loan that any business received in Escondido was $2 to $5 million.
Daniel Fitzgerald, acting regional director of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in San Diego County, told The Coast News that they helped roughly 8,000 businesses with PPP loans, one-on-one advising, training and more.
The SBDC is a network of centers that are chartered and partially funded by the SBA to provide support for small businesses at little to no cost.
“We assisted in two different ways. Through trainings — we had hundreds of those for both small and large audiences—and in applying for the loan and helping business owners to understand how to utilize the funds and maximize them, and that was done through one-on-one business advising,” Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald said they were able to help people from a variety of different backgrounds, including those whose primary language isn’t English.
“We assisted people in Spanish, Vietnamese, Mandarin, Korean, Arabic, Swahili, Farci and more,” Fitzgerald said. “We had to do a lot of active listening. A lot of people are scared and stressed because there is so much unknown during this time, but we wanted to be a resource for them.”
He added that the SBDC is available to business owners who are still in need of assistance or still haven’t applied for a loan.
Interfaith Community Services in Escondido received a PPP loan of $1 to $2 million. CEO Greg Anglea spoke to The Coast News about their experience with the program.
“It has been a really valuable support for us because we have seen such an increase in demand for our services,” Anglea said. “Normally, we rely on hundreds of volunteers to do a lot of our work like meeting with individuals who need assistance, making meals, providing legal assistance, etc. Almost all of those became impossible for volunteers to do, and the loan allowed us to hire additional staff.”
He added that the loan also allowed Interfaith to provide resiliency bonuses to their staff who have been on the frontlines providing in-person services for the past four months.
“We are so appreciative of the resource and, combined with a tremendous outpouring of contributions from the community, it has allowed us to continue to help people during this time of need,” Anglea said.
Interfaith has more than 200 full-time employees.
According to the SBA, the PPP loan was created to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.
The federal government released the data on July 6 for the first time since the loan program began.
The release includes loan-level data, including business names, addresses, NAICS codes, zip codes, business type, demographic data, non-profit information, name of lender, jobs supported, and loan amount ranges.
Specific dollar amounts were not reported, but loans were grouped into five categories. The lowest range is $150,000 to $350,000, the highest is $5 million to $10 million.
Loans of less than $150,000 were reported without the names or addresses of recipients.