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Friends don’t let friends leave money on the table

Small businesses are truly the backbone of our local economy and have a monumental impact on our communities. I am sorry to say, many of these businesses and non-profit organizations have been severely impacted by the events of this past year. Many of us have done what we can to help by prioritizing our small businesses when seeking goods and services, and have contributed generously to our non-profits, but perhaps there is another way we can assist.

There is help out there for struggling businesses and organizations, but not everyone knows where to look! That is where you come in. If you know a small business owner or someone involved in a non-profit organization, encourage them to take the time to research the resources currently available to them. It is not as difficult or intrusive as you might think.

The U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. Treasury Department recently announced the re-opening of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for First Draw (500 employees or less) and Second Draw Loans (300 employees or less). These loans were designed to help businesses keep their workforce employed during the pandemic. Some borrowers may even be eligible for loan forgiveness. COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) are also available. This program was designed to provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue due to COVID. There are other programs that the U.S. Small Business Administration is preparing to offer, and updates can be found on their website, www.sba.gov.

Here is a list of where no-cost, confidential assistance can be found to navigate these funding programs:

¯ U.S. Small Business Administration (For-Profit and Non-Profit)

Local Representative: Solomon Wheeler, branch manager/SBDC project officer, Eastern Pennsylvania District Office-Harrisburg, PA Branch

Information: solomon.wheeler@sba.gov, or www.sba.gov

¯ Your Local Financial Institution (For-Profit and Non-Profit)

¯ Penn State Small Business Development Center (Mifflin County, For-Profit)

The SBDC also offers educational opportunities and other entrepreneurial services.

Information: (814) 863-4293, sbdc@psu.edu, or www.sbdc.psu.edu

¯ Bucknell Small Business Development Center (Juniata County, For-Profit)

The SBDC also offers educational opportunities and other entrepreneurial services.

Information: (570) 577-3791, sbdc@bucknell.edu, or www.bucknell.edu/sbdc.

You can also contact the chamber office at (717) 248-6713, rhondam@juniatarivervalley.org, or www.juniatarivervalley.org.

Sharing this information may not seem like a grand gesture, but it could mean the difference between a small business remaining open or shutting its doors. We all must do our part, no matter how insignificant it may seem. Spread the word.

“I don’t want to live in the kind of world where we don’t look out for each other. Not just the people that are close to us, but anybody who needs a helping hand. I can’t change the way anybody else thinks, or what they choose to do, but I can do my bit.” — Charles De Lint

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Rhonda S. Moore is Executive Director of the Juniata River Valley Chamber of Commerce.

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