The SBDC Helping Sustain Erie County Small Business Enterprises That Have Been Impacted by COVID-19 Crisis

The Small Business Development Center at SUNY Buffalo State led by Susan McCartney are going beyond the call of duty to help small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 Crisis.  She and her team are working by the hour to provide one-to-one confidential counseling to entrepreneurs during Covid-19 crisis that has led to unprecedented disruptions and challenges to nearly every small business within our community.                                                        

She estimated back in mid March that her staff was handling 50 appointments a day while also fielding calls from various community leaders who are seeking the most up-to-date information from Washington, D.C. and that number is continually growing .

“I think there’s going to be a tidal wave of calls coming,” she said. “People are just starting to experience how drastic this situation is.”…. “This is not an easy landscape,” said McCartney “Every day, something new is being created, or the program we had a week ago has been replaced by a new application.”

The main loan available to small businesses carries a 3.75 percent interest rate and can be repaid over 30 years; for nonprofit organizations, the rate is 2.75 percent. And there are other generous terms, such as no collateral required for the first $25,000.

SBDC Director Susan McCartney

“The length of this loan makes it extremely affordable,” McCartney said. “We don’t usually do any loans over five years. There also is no cost to apply, which is very unusual. The funding, however, has to be related to COVID-19.”

As overwhelming as the situation is for small businesses, McCartney and her team are trying to stay positive.

“This is energizing work,” she said. “We’re helping folks in the trenches, many with longtime businesses that are the main support for their families.”

This isn’t McCartney’s first experience responding to a disaster. Following the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center, she helped small businesses get back up and running .

For Erie and Wyoming County small business enterprises who need assistance you can call the SBDC   at (716) 878-4030 or contact a member of their team directly.   

Back on March 16, Brian Higgins, ’85, U.S. representative for New York’s 26th congressional district, announced that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) approved a disaster declaration for New York, making small businesses and nonprofit organizations eligible for low-interest loans.                                                             The legislation authorized roughly $7 billion in loans to small businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact.                          The rollout of the Economic Injury Disaster Loans  resulted in hundreds of new calls pouring in to the SBDC (Small Business Development Center) which were automatically transferred to Susan McCartney, SBDC director of SBDC, and her staff of five advisers who are working remotely. The SBDC ( Small Business Development Center) covers businesses located in Erie and Wyoming counties.                                                                                  An SBA fact sheet (PDF, 111 KB) is available on Higgins’s website. Additional information on eligibility and the application process for the loans is available at SBA.gov/disaster.