The "smallest of small businesses" on Guam that have not received any Covid-19 loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration will get the first opportunity to avail of the $20-million economic stimulus grant program launched Tuesday by the Guam Economic Development Authority, according to administrator Melanie Mendiola.
GEDA Administrator Melanie Mendiola said the size of the business is "reflected by gross receipts of under $500,000 annually pre-interruption."
DEFINITIONS SMALL BUSINESS Guam businesses that have gross receipts from April 2019 through March 2020 of up to $1,500,000.
A. For businesses in operation on or before March 2019 (April 2019 GRT filing): if the May 2020 gross receipts reflect a 25% reduction as compared to the average monthly gross receipts between April 2019 and March 2020.
B. For businesses who commenced operation on or after April 1, 2019: if the May 2020 gross receipts reflect a 25% reduction as compared to the average monthly gross receipts between the first month of GRT filing and March 2020.
Priority is given to businesses that have not benefited from SBA's Personnel Payroll Protection or the
Economic Injury Disaster Loan emergency advance, she said.
"The first round we wanted to benefit the smallest of small businesses, primarily because we knew that these were the businesses that didn’t necessarily have a full-time (chief finance officers) to help them file their documentation on time. So perhaps they were unable to be recipients under PPP or EIDL,” Mendiola said.
The economic stimulus program offers up to $30,000.
"The second round will open up to businesses with gross receipts of under $1.5 million annually and will include those who’ve received EIDL or PPP,” Mendiola said. “Employers who employ 100 persons or less represent the largest section of our private sector. We knew we wanted to benefit small businesses."
Mendiola is thankful for the input from stakeholders, including the Guam Chamber of Commerce, the Women’s Chamber, the Chinese Chamber, the Korean Chamber and GHRA in coming up with the rounds of funding.
“Unfortunately, if it’s $500,001 then you have to wait until round two,” she said. “If you’re a part of group two you can submit your application anytime but you won’t receive an answer until after we completed the evaluations of round one or three, weeks, whichever comes first.”
Small businesses that have received assistance for the PPP or EIDL program will still be able to apply, but the governor stated that they are prioritizing small businesses who haven’t received those subsidies.
“We do have a very active compliance department over at the GEDA. The first thing we want to ensure is that applications are evaluated on an impartial matter,” Mendiola said.
“As far as post award audit, we’re asking them to sign some documentation regarding what they’re utilizing the funding for. There are some ineligible uses of funds, some items, just interestedly. You can’t this pot of funding for same things you applied for in the EIDL or PPP if received. There's no real double counting of monies. In addition, we’re asking all grant recipients to maintain receipts so that during post-award audit they can show what they used the money for.”
The funds will be available for eligible businesses on a first come first serve basis. Businesses can use funds to cover business interruption, pay rent, utilities, loans, and pay roll. The grants will be calculated on annually gross receipts.
“GEDA won’t be able to disclose a list of who has applied and qualified for the grant without exposing businesses confidential information,” said Mendiola. “The evaluation will be done in house at the GEDA. We are projecting out less than one week to receive a decision on whether or not you received the grant funding and in your eligible group.”