Ramsey County Small Business Relief Program
5/27/20 Update

Ramsey County is providing emergency assistance to small local businesses adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Small Business Relief Fund will provide grants of $7500 to small businesses most in need of support.

Funds will help businesses pay for critical expenses such as rent or  mortgage payments, utilities, payments to suppliers and costs associated with reopening. Providing this support will increase the capacity of small businesses with a physical location in Ramsey County to survive the current crisis and will help prevent potential future blight scenarios.

Learn more and apply

Governor Walz Announces Phase II of Stay Safe MN Plan starting June 1
5/21/2020 Update

Today, Governor Walz announced the details of Stay Safe MN PHASE II, which will allow bars and restaurants to open for patio and outdoor service with some restrictions. The State has created a chart that outlines Minnesota's phased in approach to reopening various business and social settings. Facial coverings are strongly recommended at all times, and all non-Critical Sector businesses are required to have adopted and implemented a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. 

The following settings will OPEN with some restrictions starting on June 1 for PHASE II, in addition to settings already open during PHASE I: 

  • Restaurants and Bars: patio and outdoor services are permitted to open. 6 ft of distance must be maintained and cannot exceed 50 customers. Reservations are required. Masks are required for workers and are strongly recommended for customers. 
  • Personal services (salons, tattoos, barbershops): 6 ft of distance must be maintained at 25% capacity. Appointments and masks are required for workers and customers. 
  • Campgrounds and charter boats: Open with guidance

The following settings remain CLOSED during PHASE II.  

  • Gyms, personal fitness and yoga studios, martial arts 
  • Entertainment (bowling alleys, movie theaters, arcades, theaters) 
  • Large public gatherings (festivals, sporting events, large concerts) 

To report a potential violation of the Governor’s orders, please email SAHviolations@state.mn.us  or call  651-793-3746.

Learn More

Retail Occupancy Calculator
5/19/20 Update

The City of Saint Paul’s Department of Safety and Inspections has created an online tool that will help small business owners easily calculate 50% retail occupancy capacity based on total square footage. Effective May 18, 2020, all retail stores, malls, and other businesses that sell, rent, maintain and repair goods can reopen for in-person sales as long as they:  

  • Have adopted and implemented a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan, including social distancing guidelines for workers and customers  
  • Allow no more than 50% of the establishment's occupant capacity inside at any time  
  • The orders, based on public health guidance, rely on voluntary compliance by business owners. City of Saint Paul staff are prepared to provide information and guidance to owners as needed to ensure the safety and health of all their workers and customers.   
  • Learn more about the Governor's Stay Safe MN order here.

IRS adds operators to answer Economic Impact Payment questions
5/19/20 Update

Today, the Internal Revenue Service is starting to add 3,500 telephone representatives to answer some of the most common questions about Economic Impact Payments.

IRS telephone assistance and other services will remain limited, and answers for most of the common questions related to Economic Impact Payments are available on IRS.gov. The IRS anticipates bringing back additional assistors as state and local advisories permit.

The IRS regularly posts new and updated answers to the most frequently asked questions about Economic Impact Payments and the Get My Payment tool. Those who wish to know the status of their Economic Impact Payment are reminded to check Get My Payment regularly; the information is frequently updated as the IRS continues to process the remaining payments for delivery.

For those who are eligible for an Economic Impact Payment but aren't required to file a tax return, the IRS reminds them the Non-Filers tool also remains available in English or Spanish for them to register for a payment.

Learn more

Hennepin County Small Business Relief Program
5/18/20 Update

Self-employed entrepreneurs can apply for grants of up to $3,000 starting tomorrow, Tuesday, May 19 at noon

This funding is part of the Hennepin County Small Business Relief Program, which is designed to help small local businesses meet immediate financial needs by providing emergency grants for eligible expenses of business interruption due to COVID-19.

The application period is May 19-26 for self-employed entrepreneurs to apply for grants of up to $3,000. Up to $1 million in total is available. If applications exceed available resources, funds will be awarded using a randomized lottery system as well as eligibility criteria.

A separate application period for small businesses with employees to apply for grants of up to $10,000 from this program closed on May 8 and 2,290 applications were received. Fund recipients will be notified by email on or before May 15.

Learn More

Next Phase of the Minnesota Stay-At-Home Order
05/14/20 Update

Today, Governor Tim Walz announced the next phase of the COVID-19 response in Minnesota. Citing progress made to prepare for peak of infection, the Governor announced a measured, cautious turning of the dial toward a new normal.

With the Stay Home Executive Order set to expire on May 18, the Governor will replace it with an order continuing to encourage Minnesotans to stay close to home but allowing for gatherings of friends and family of 10 people or less. The Governor will also open retail stores and other main street businesses if they have a social distancing plan and operate at 50 percent occupancy. Additional guidance, including a template plan and checklist for businesses, is available on DEED’s website at mn.gov/deed/safework.

Learn More

IRS: Three new credits available for small businesses
5/8/20 Update

The Internal Revenue Service today reminds employers affected by COVID-19 about three important new credits available to them: Employee Retention Credit, Paid Sick Leave Credit, and Family Leave Credit. 

Learn More

Peacetime Emergency Childcare Grants
5/5/20 Update

As part of their COVID-19 Response Supplemental Budget proposal, Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan proposed $30 million in funding for emergency grants for licensed child care providers serving essential workers during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Child care providers and educators themselves are expressly listed as essential. The deadline for application is Tuesday, May 12.

Learn more and apply

Minnesota Stay-At-Home Order Extended Until May 18
04/30/20 Update

Gov. Tim Walz on Thursday announced the extension until May 18 of the current stay-at-home order, which otherwise expired Monday, but with new flexibility allowing some retailers to reopen with curbside pickup or delivery for customers. 

Learn More

Returning to Work - Info from DEED
4/30/20 Update

MN Executive Order 20-40 - Guidance on Reopening

  • Executive order 20-40 only applies to non-customer facing industrial and office-based businesses who cannot work from home. Businesses needing specific guidance on whether or not they qualify can go to the guidance page on the DEED website

  • Workers whose employer is re-opening under EO 20-40 may no longer qualify for unemployment. They must report to UI if they refuse to return to work for their employer 

  • If you still have a question that you need answered about whether a business meets the definition of industrial or office, please email CriticalSectors@state.mn.us.

DEED begins making Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) payments
4/28/20 Update

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) announced on Friday, April 24 today that the agency has begun making Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) payments to people who are self-employed, independent contractors, and other eligible recipients who are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits.

Here’s what you need to know about applying for PUA:

  • If you have already applied for regular unemployment benefits, you do not need to do anything extra to qualify for PUA. DEED will automatically establish a PUA benefit account for you if you are eligible.
  • If you have not applied for unemployment benefits yet, special instructions for self-employed and 1099 workers are available here. These instructions include steps you can take to make your account easily identifiable as potentially eligible for PUA.
    • If you applied for unemployment benefits without following those instructions, don’t worry – you don’t need to change anything. Your account will still be reviewed for PUA eligibility.
  • If you have not heard from DEED yet, don’t worry. We expect to be in touch with most people who are eligible for benefits under PUA by the end of April. There is no need to call or follow-up; you will hear from us proactively if we need additional information to determine eligibility.
  • You will receive information about PUA benefits in your online account, by email, and by mail.
  • Applicants who receive PUA benefits will also receive the $600/week additional payment.
  • PUA benefits will be backdated to whenever you first became eligible due to COVID-19.

Additional information, including answers to many commonly asked questions, can be found here: COVID-19 information for self-employed people and independent contractors

SBA Re-opens Paycheck Protection Program
4/27/20 Update

The Small Business Administration will resume accepting PPP loan applications at 9:30 am CDT today from approved lenders on behalf of any eligible borrower. SBA has updated  FAQs for the program and provided specifics on calculating maximum loan amounts by business type.

For all program information and to find a lender, visit www.sba.gov/paycheckprotection.

LISC Small Business Relief Grants
4/24/20 Update

The LISC announced today a new grant program to will support small businesses and enterprises affected the Covid-19 across the country, especially those in underserved communities, including entrepreneurs of color, women- and veteran-owned businesses that often lack access to flexible, affordable capital.

Applications will be reviewed based on criteria designed to prioritize particularly challenged businesses, and the final grantees will be randomly selected from the top-scoring applicants.

Learn more

US Chamber Fund Runs Out Within Minutes
4/22/20 Update

A $5,000 grant for businesses between 3-20 employees ran out within minutes of being offered Monday afternoon. More funds will hopefully become available, but the future is uncertain. Click here to learn more.

Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development SBEL Loans are AT CAPACITY
4/21/20 Update

Current loan requests have exceeded funding availability. We do not yet know if more funds will be added to this program. Please check their site regularly for updates.

Getting your legal house in order during the pandemic, with Jenna Schwartzhoff
4/15/20 Update

Not sure where to start when it comes to navigating the legal aspects of your business during a pandemic? You are not alone! Here are a few tips to help you through this difficult time.

WATCH VIDEO

Saint Paul Bridge Fund for Small Businesses Begins Accepting Applications April 8th 
4/07/20 Update

Saint Paul has developed a fund for businesses in St Paul, providing $7,500 grant funding to each eligible business. If the program has more applicants than funding, grant recipients will be chosen through a random lottery system. Applications close April 19. Go to the St Paul Bridge Fund website for more information.

Minneapolis Gap Funding Plan for Small Businesses Announced
4/07/20 Update

With $2.2 million in city funds, the Minneapolis Gap Funds for Small Businesses include a new Small Business Debt-free Fund for companies with 20 employees or less and people who are self-employed along with a revamped 2% loan program, adjusted to 0%. The new Forgivable No-Interest Loans for Small Business will come in fixed amounts of $5,000 or $10,000, depending on need resulting from the COVID-19 emergency. Check the site for eligibility requirements. Application information has not yet been released.

Minnesota Employment and Economic Development: Guide for Minnesota Small Businesses Who Need Help
4/03/20 Update

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development released a guide to help small businesses.

Over the past few weeks, several state and federal programs have been built to assist small businesses struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. Different programs make sense for different businesses, so they've provided this summary guide to help small businesses quickly see which programs might be right for their situation.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act
4/01/2020 Update

The Department of Labor (DOL) has recently enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) which will, in most cases, require employers with less than 500 employees to provide their employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions apply from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020, according to the DOL.

View the flyer

Governor Walz Issues Stay at Home Order for Minnesotans
3/25/20 Update

 To slow the spread of COVID-19 across the state, Governor Tim Walz signed Executive Order 20-20 directing Minnesotans to stay at home and limit movements outside of their home beyond essential needs. This order takes effect at 11:59pm on Friday, March 27 and ends at 5:00pm on Friday, April 10.

Minnesotans may leave their residences only to perform any of the following activities, and while doing so, they should practice social distancing:

  • Health and safety activities, such as obtaining emergency services or medical supplies
  • Outdoor activities, such as walking, hiking, running, biking, hunting, or fishing
  • Necessary Supplies and Services, such as getting groceries, gasoline, or carry-out
  • Essential and interstate travel, such as returning to a home from outside this state
  • Care of others, such as caring for a family member, friend, or pet in another household
  • Displacement, such as moving between emergency shelters if you are without a home
  • Relocation to ensure safety, such as relocating to a different location if your home has been unsafe due to domestic violence, sanitation, or essential operations reasons
  • Tribal activities and lands, such as activities by members within the boundaries of their tribal reservation

Workers who work in critical sectors during this time are exempt from the stay at home order. These exemptions are based on federal guidance from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security with some Minnesota-specific additions. This includes, but is not limited to, jobs in:

  • Healthcare and public health;
  • Law enforcement, public safety, and first responders;
  • Emergency shelters, congregate living facilities, drop-in centers;
  • Child care;
  • Food and agriculture;
  • News media;
  • Energy;
  • Water and wastewater; and
  • Critical manufacturing.

The Governor also issued executive orders extending the closure of bars, restaurants, and other public accommodations set forth in Executive Orders 20-04 and 20-08 until May 1, 2020 at 5:00 pm and authorizing the Commissioner of Education to implement a Distance Learning Period for Minnesota’s students beginning on March 30 through May 4, 2020.

Deed Emergency Loan Program
​3/24/20 Update

DEED Creating Emergency Loan Program for Minnesota Small Businesses  (partially forgivable)

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is creating an emergency loan program to help Minnesota small business owners who need immediate assistance to meet their families’ basic needs during COVID-19 closures.

  • The loan program is intended to help businesses temporarily closed
  • Range from $2,500 to $35,000 and will be based on the firm’s economic injury and the financial need
  • Be interest free
  • Be paid back monthly over five (5) years and the first payment will be deferred six (6) months with potentially partial forgiveness
  • Be provided to only Minnesota-based businesses

Learn more about the program here:  https://mn.gov/deed/business/financing-business/deed-programs/peacetime/

Health Insurance for the Uninsured
03/23/20 Update

MNsure is offering a coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency special enrollment period to eligible Minnesotans who do not have health insurance.

Buying health insurance can be complicated. You can do it yourself or get an enrollment expert to help you every step of the way. 

Open enrollment has ended but year-round enrollment is open to those who qualify. 

Training Now Available for the SBA's EIDL Loans
03/21/20 Update

Join experts at MN's SBA office to learn about the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. 

Friday, March 27, 9 am: Register or 1 pm: Register

These training sessions will cover program eligibility, use of proceeds, terms, filing requirements, and additional small business resources. After registering you will receive the Skype webinar log in information.

The SBA will be conducting these training sessions twice a day until demand is met. Spanish language training is coming soon. 

State and Federal Tax Guidelines
3/21/20 Update

The US Treasury Department has announced that the federal tax filing deadline has moved from April 15th to July 15th to bring it into line with the previously announced delay to tax payments. Here is a link to the announcement on the MN Dept of Revenue site.

Governor Walz has announced that he will follow suit for Minnesota and has requested a tax filing extension, but it still must be approved by the IRS. If approved, the extended the tax filing deadline will bring it in line with the federal guidelines. Read more here

Minnesota Small Businesses Now Eligible for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program
3/20/20

Thanks to a concerted effort by the state of Minnesota and the SBA to contain the economic impact of COVID-19, the state's small businesses are now eligible for the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program and can apply for a loan on SBA's website.

  • This program can provide low-interest loans of up to $2 million to small businesses and private non-profits.
  • These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills. 
  • The current interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The non-profit rate is 2.75%.
  • These loans have long-term repayment options, up to a maximum of 30 years. 
Applying for Disaster Loans

Minnesota's small businesses are now eligible for the SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program and can apply online. 

Forms to fill out FIRST

Here's a list of documents you'll need to provide to complete the application. 

Preparing these documents before you go to SBA.gov/disaster will save you time and streamline the process.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The SBA highly recommends you complete your application online, rather than mailing it in. 

More Info on Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program
  • EIDL loans of up to $2M are now available for small businesses and private non-profits. 
  • Funds can pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact.
  • The current interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses, non-profit rate is 2.75%.
  • The terms can be extended up to 30 years to keep it affordable.
  • These loans are only intended as working capital loans utilized to assist with impact caused by the coronavirus emergency efforts.
  • Loan applications will be evaluated by SBA loan officers. Criteria includes:
    • Credit history acceptable to the SBA
    • Repayment abilities
    • Eligibility - business must be headquartered in a declared state and suffered working capital losses due to the declared disaster (not a general downturn in business due to the economy or other reasons).

Keeping you informed

The SBA expects small business owners and stakeholders will have questions. The Minnesota District Office has already begun hosting daily webinars on the Economic Injury Disaster Loans. You can find details about future training sessions at www.sba.gov/mn. They cover:

  • Program eligibility
  • Use of proceeds
  • Terms
  • Filing requirements
  • Additional small business resources

For more on SBA programs for the coronavirus, please visit www.sba.gov/coronavirus and sign up for updates as they become available at sba.gov/updates

Taxes and Unemployment Insurance
3/20/2020 Update

Tax Updates

The  Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) today issued guidance allowing all individual and other non-corporate tax filers to defer up to $1 million of federal income tax (including self-employment tax) payments due on April 15, 2020, until July 15, 2020, without penalties or interest. For more information please see the Department of Treasury’s notice.

Sales Tax

The IRS has initiated a 30-day grace period for sales tax which is due tomorrow March 20, 2020. Due date is now April 20, 2020. For any questions, please reach out to IRS via email in order to get a quicker response.

For more information please visit the Minnesota Department of Revenue's website.

Individual Income Taxes

As of now, individual taxes are due on April 15, 2020, in their usual deadline. IRS is currently reviewing plans for the current deadline. The IRS is encouraging people to reach out to them via email in order to get a quicker response.

Contact the Minnesota Department of Revenue

Property Taxes

Property taxes are handled at the County level. The IRS is currently working with many Counties in their planning efforts. For any questions regarding property taxes please reach out to your respective county

Minnesota Unemployment Insurance Update

To access the Minnesota Unemployment Insurance Program, please visit their website for an easier and more efficient service.

DEED is encouraging employers to review the Shared Work Program which helps employers avoid layoffs. This program allows employers to receive Unemployment Insurance benefits for their employees if they are reducing hours for multiple employees rather than looking into layoffs.

Learn more about Shared Work Program

WomenVenture Update
03/16/2020

On March 11, the World Health Organization characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic. In order to slow the spread of the virus, we have made the decision to implement the following changes effective Tuesday, March 17.

  • We're moving towards conducting in-person training programs and volunteer orientations virtually. We hope to make all classes available online as soon as possible. Our staff will be in direct contact with those currently enrolled in class with next steps.
  • 1:1 business advice for loan clients will continue to be available virtually. One of our team members will be reaching out to you in the next few days to assist you.
  • A webinar to help business owners through this difficult period is currently in development and will be available for all clients (and other small business owners) soon at no charge.  
  • The WomenVenture office and training center will be closed until the end of this crisis.
  • We are implementing a virtual work environment for all WomenVenture team members. Please continue to engage with us on email, through Zoom or on the phone. We are working! 
  • If you are a business partner, client, or volunteer, who has an event or meeting with us between now and April 16, you will be hearing directly from your WomenVenture team member regarding next steps. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions, concerns, or ideas. 
  • Non-programmatic events (i.e., fundraisers, meetings, workshops, etc.) will be conducted virtually or rescheduled. 
  • If you are a donor or funding partner, we appreciate your ongoing support as we activate our community of support for small business owners across Minnesota.

WomenVenture is committed to providing ongoing guidance and resources as we sort through this unprecedented situation together.  

As always, our top priority is the safety and well-being of our clients, volunteers, staff, and the communities we serve. Your continued support is appreciated and valued.   

Stay safe and healthy! 

Please continue to check online for live updates as the situation evolves.

READ THE MDH STATEMENT TO BUSINESSES ON COVID-19

Media Inquiries

For all media inquiries, please contact Communications Officer Carrie Moore.