The Utah Economic Response Task Force announced that the Rapid Response Team (RRT) had provided one-on-one assistance to more than 2,000 Utah small businesses in their efforts to benefit from federal COVID-19 stimulus programs. With a goal to level the economic dip within the state by helping Utah companies navigate federal resources, the RRT was developed by the Utah Economic Task Force Federal Committee, which is comprised of Utah’s Congressional delegation, federal partners, and key state business and government entities. The Utah Economic Task Force is chaired by Salt Lake Chamber President and CEO Derek B. Miller.
“The Economic Response Task Force understood early on that federal resources would be a key component of combating the coronavirus pandemic,” said Miller. “Our federal resource committee overseeing the RRT has done a phenomenal job of working with Utah businesses to resolve concerns and remove roadblocks between our businesses and the capital they need to remain viable. We will continue to work with applicants and our federal partners to ensure adequate resources meet the needs of our employers and employees they support.”
As of May 1, 2020, the U.S. Small Business Association reported that more than 40,000 Utah businesses have received SBA Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) loans valued at approximately $5.4 billion. PPP loans were designed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll during the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The SBA will forgive the loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.
“The SBA Utah District is incredibly grateful to all of the Rapid Response Team members for their time, dedication, and willingness to support our office in providing critical resources to small businesses throughout the state,” said District Director Marla Trollan. “Their work has helped thousands of small business owners navigate the complex requirements and processes of our disaster relief programs. We are very appreciative of the World Trade Center for co-leading this effort. This partnership truly serves as a national model in how federal and local resources can quickly come together and collaborate during crisis situations,” she said.
Assisting local businesses in their efforts to obtain PPP loans and other economic resources, the RRT includes 54 volunteers from across business, government, education, and civic organizations, all collaborating to help lessen the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Utah’s business community. On top of fulfilling their regular work duties, RRT volunteers have increased the state’s bandwidth on the front lines of the crisis by providing one-on-one consultations and assistance to Utah small business owners struggling to find answers about the critical programs the federal government is rolling out through the CARES Act.
“With the flood of new programs and resources emanating from Washington, it is often difficult, but critical for small business owners to understand these resources as they seek financial assistance to keep their businesses afloat and pay their employees,” said David Carlebach, Vice President of WTC Utah who is heading the RRT. “Each RRT member is volunteering 10-15 hours of their time each week to answer requests for help from Utah businesses. These volunteers are providing real solutions, and the collaboration is amazing.”
Despite the long hours, the volunteers say they share a similar sentiment: “We are making a huge difference, and it is an honor to help Utah businesses keep their doors open during this difficult time,” said Jim Porter, Trade Services Manager of WTC Utah who is leading the RRT.
According to JP Morgan Chase, most small businesses only hold enough cash reserves to keep their business going about 27 days. For many small Utah businesses, every minute counts, and many feel they are on the brink. If you know a business owner in need of help, please have them reach out to the Rapid Response Team by visiting coronavirus.utah.gov/business and clicking “Submit Help Request.”
The RRT volunteers come from the following organizations:
ABC 4 Utah
Anderson Auto Doors
Ben McAdams U.S. Congress
Governor’s Office of Economic Development
Now Playing Utah
Salt Lake Chamber
Salt Lake City Government
Salt Lake Community College
U.S. Small Business Administration
Visit Salt Lake
Women’s Business Center of Utah
World Trade Center Utah