Why Detroit Small Businesses Should Consider SBA’s PPP program

February 24th, 2021

Jason Barnett and Derek Edwards on our small business team break down some of the complexity of the Paycheck Protection Program and provide some assistance tools to help. Some recent changes to the program make it a great time for Detroit’s smallest businesses to apply. Application deadlines are coming up fast, so check out this article and get connected to the help you need.


With many businesses struggling to survive the economic impact of COVID-19, the Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) forgivable loan program is something small business owners should consider applying to.

The PPP is a forgivable loan program for small businesses to keep their workforce employed during this crisis. It can be used to help pay for payroll costs, including benefits, as well mortgage interest, rent, utilities, worker protection costs related to COVID-19, and certain supplier costs and expenses for operations. The first round of PPP lending back in August of 2020 had a big impact on Detroit businesses with over 5,400 loans awarded totaling over $645 million. The average loan awarded was $120,000, and the program helped retain about 58,000 jobs in the city.

There is now a second round, funded from a federal COVID-relief bill passed in December, that is providing $284 billion in additional funding for the PPP program. At least $15 billion is being dedicated to small/micro businesses (maximum of 10 employees) who haven’t received a PPP loan yet, including loans of $250,000 or less to small businesses located in low- or moderate-income neighborhoods. Applications are due on March 31.

And this just in! This week, President Biden announced some changes that could really be of benefit to our smaller Detroit small businesses. From February 24 to March 10, the application process will focus only on businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 20 employees. Though this is to give priority to these smaller businesses, all eligible businesses will be reviewed if applications are received by the March 31 deadline. The announcement also included these changes to the program:

Given these changes and the looming deadline, we encourage Detroit small businesses to apply—whether you haven’t received a PPP loan before or you are in need of a second draw. We know that applying for a federal loan program can be intimidating, and it can be difficult to understand if you qualify or if the loan will be truly forgivable. So here are some quick need-to-knows:

  1. Eligible businesses include self-employed individuals, sole proprietorships, and independent contractors.
  2. Loans can be forgiven if they meet the following requirements: employee and compensation levels are maintained; the loan proceeds are spent on payroll costs and other eligible expenses; and at least 60% of the loan proceeds are spent on payroll costs
  3. Application assistance is available. If you need help with the application process, Detroit Means Business can help through their MBA Response team who is offering free one-on-one assistance. For other resources and a list of local PPP lenders, visit the Detroit Means Business website.

If you need help keeping your business going, this federal forgivable loan program can be a good option, and there are resources available to make the process easier. And if you’re interested in applying, the application process takes time so do so as soon as possible to give lenders ample time to process their request before the March 31 deadline.