SBA Wyoming District Office Newsletter

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Wyoming District Office  - May 2020

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Small Business Administration Delivers Support to Rural America

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By Dan Nordberg, SBA Director of Rural Affairs & Amy Lea, Wyoming District Director

The devastating impact of COVID-19 has tested the will of millions of agricultural businesses and farms throughout rural communities all over our nation, but help is on the way.  Congress just passed an extension of the Paycheck Protection Program which includes over $310 billion in new funding to help small businesses and agricultural related industries support their payroll costs. 

This program is one of the largest economic recovery efforts in our nation’s history and was built in just seven short days, a true testament to the American spirit and demonstration of what is possible when we come together to serve a higher cause. By leveraging the power of private lenders, the Paycheck Protection Program provides businesses with the capital and certainty they need to retain their employees and continue serving our communities.

Of note to rural America, agricultural related industries such as production of food and fiber, ranching and raising of livestock, aquaculture, and all other independently owned farming and agriculture-related entities are eligible to participate in the program as long as they have 500 or fewer employees whose principal place of residence is the United States.

In addition to program efforts, the SBA has over 690 men and women who work in 68 field offices all across the nation serving as the agency’s "boots on the ground” and the primary contact for delivering SBA’s programs directly to rural communities, businesses, and stakeholders.  SBA staff also work hand in hand with our resource partners at the local level, including Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), SCORE counselors, Women’s Business Centers, and Veterans Business Outreach Centers to serve the needs of rural small businesses. In Wyoming, this includes the SBA Wyoming District Office team, led by District Director Amy Lea. Her team has been working to ensure that Wyoming lenders have the information they need to provide Paycheck Protection Program loans to assist these small businesses and agricultural enterprises around the state; additional information including a list of participating lenders is available at Businesses who need assistance navigating these loan programs are invited to reach out to Wyoming’s SBA Resource Partners, especially the Wyoming SBDC Network, available online at, and the Wyoming Women’s Business Center, available online at

In response to the impact that coronavirus COVID-19 has had on our country’s rural communities, SBA’s District Offices have been working tirelessly to serve rural small businesses and agricultural industries.  District staff are collaborating closely with rural Chambers of Commerce, local governments, and elected officials to provide information on SBA programs via virtual townhalls, webinars, and Facebook chats.  The SBA has also worked to bring in additional lenders to provide Paycheck Protection Program loans including credit unions, farm credit lenders, USDA Lenders, community banks, and others that serve rural businesses. 

The Paycheck Protection Program is assisting rural businesses, farmers, ranchers, ag co-ops, nonprofits and the faith-based groups that serve those areas.  While there’s certainly more work to be done, the SBA will continue to fight for America's rural communities until this battle is won. 

Additional Headlines

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SBA to Make Economic Injury Disaster Loans Available to U.S. Agricultural Businesses Impacted by COVID-19 Pandemic


WASHINGTON – U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza announced May 4 that agricultural businesses are now eligible for SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance programs. SBA’s EIDL portal will reopen today as a result of funding authorized by Congress through the Paycheck Protection Program and Healthcare Enhancement Act. The legislation, signed into law by the President one week ago, provided additional funding for farmers and ranchers and certain other agricultural businesses affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“For more than 30 years, SBA has been prohibited by law from providing disaster assistance to agricultural businesses; however, as a result of the unprecedented legislation enacted by President Trump, American farmers, ranchers and other agricultural businesses will now have access to emergency working capital,” said Administrator Carranza. “These low-interest, long-term loans will help keep agricultural businesses viable while bringing stability to the nation’s vitally important food supply chains.”

Agricultural businesses include businesses engaged in the legal production of food and fiber, ranching, and raising of livestock, aquaculture, and all other farming and agricultural related industries (as defined by section 18(b) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 647(b)). Eligible agricultural businesses must have 500 or fewer employees.

The SBA will begin accepting new EIDL applications on a limited basis only, in order to provide unprecedented relief to U.S. agricultural businesses. For agricultural businesses that submitted an EIDL loan application through the streamlined application portal prior to the legislative change, SBA will move forward and process these applications without the need for re-applying. All other EIDL loan applications that were submitted before the portal stopped accepting new applications on April 15 will be processed on a first-in, first-out basis.

For more information, please visit:

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PPP Keeps Wyomingites Working


The recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, designed to help individuals and small businesses weather the impact of the coronavirus, has already been proven to help Wyomingites keep their doors open.

The Payroll Protection Program (PPP) is the CARES Act’s cornerstone for helping small businesses. It allows small business owners to receive loans of up to $10 million to be used to offset the costs of keeping employees on payroll. Loans under the PPP will be 100 percent guaranteed by the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the full principal amount of the loans and any accrued interest may qualify for loan forgiveness, provided the business maintains their level of payroll for the eight weeks following the time of approval.

As of April 29, SBA had approved more than 960,000 PPP loans totaling almost $90 billion dollars nationwide. Over 5,300 lenders have participated in the program.

“Nationally, our small banks (with under $10 billion in assets) are leading the way – their loans account for approximately 61% of total the loan volume,” said SBA Wyoming District Director Amy Lea. “Our community banks and credit unions are leading the way here in Wyoming, too. The data aren’t in yet, but I’ve talked with many lenders who pulled all-nighters this week in order to make sure their clients received these loans, and I’m hearing that many of the loans in their pipelines have now been approved.”

Anthony Aguirre, owner of Triple A Building Services, Inc., says the PPP funds he received not only helped him to keep his staff on payroll, but also allowed him to look into hiring other Wyoming workers who need income.

“I certainly wanted to take care of my staff, my employees, but I also know there are a lot of qualified folks out there who need to work,” Aguirre explained. “I know the oilfield guys have taken a hit, and many others, but there’s a lot they’re certified to do in the construction industry.”

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Upcoming Events

May 5 – Webinar: Upcoming Opportunities to do Business with Federal Agencies in Wyoming (Part 1)

Please join us! Wyoming PTAC and the Small Business Administration would like to invite you to our FREE virtual meeting with representatives from prominent federal agencies who buy from Wyoming businesses. Each agency will review upcoming contracting opportunities and offer suggestions on how to do business with them. Register here

May 6 – Webinar: Upcoming Opportunities to do Business with Federal Agencies in Wyoming (Part 2)

Register here

May 7 – Webinar: Upcoming Opportunities to do Business with Federal Agencies in Wyoming (Part 3)

Register here

Past Headlines


Casper Business Uses Payroll Protection Program to Keep Business Blooming

The Payroll Protection Program (PPP) is the CARES Act’s cornerstone for helping small businesses. It allows small business owners to receive loans of up to $10 million to be used to offset the costs of keeping employees on payroll.

Nate’s Flowers and Gifts, located in Casper, is one of the many businesses in Wyoming that have used PPP funds to keep employees on payroll and working.

“I told my employees from the beginning, ‘look, we may have to shut down due to the quarantine, but I’m going to make sure each of you get paid when you’re supposed to,’ but I was worried about what that might mean,” said Rob Monroe, owner of Nate’s Flower and Gifts. “So, as soon as we started to hear about the PPP, I knew it’d be a godsend, that this was going to help us keep our employees paid. I mean, if even one pay cycle is disrupted it can cause serious problems for our folks here.”

Monroe says he had resigned to the fact that the business would lose money this year.

“My employees are what I care about – they have bills to pay and mouths to feed. As a business owner, I feel as though it’s my responsibility to make sure that happens,” Monroe explained. “Thanks to this program, I have the peace of mind knowing we’re covered for the next eight weeks and won’t have to lose any of our staff.

“Springtime is our busy, money-making season and Summer is always slow. The PPP will help us as we miss out on Spring sales, and that’ll be huge when Summer rolls around.”

Monroe and his son, Phil, worked with Hilltop Bank throughout the process, even before the program was online.

“Hilltop Bank and our loan officer, Luke Carlson, were with us every step of the way. Because we had a relationship with a community bank we knew exactly who to call when talk of this program started to hit the news,” explained Phil Monroe, who helps manage the day-to-day operations of the store. “And, because Luke had worked with the SBA in the past, he had a good idea of what paperwork we’d need, even before the final regulations were posted.”

Monroe says Hilltop Bank staff worked throughout the weekend to get their application processed and approved.

“We were getting calls on a Sunday just to update us on the status of our application,” Monroe added. “And, I know they were working from home because of social distancing guidelines. That’s customer service.”

Luke Carlson, vice president of Hilltop Bank’s Commercial Lending department, says the process of getting PPP loans processed was “fast and furious,” and the SBA Wyoming team – including Lender Relations Specialist Steve Immel – were helpful throughout the process.

“One early morning our lending team called Steve expecting to leave a message and get a call back, but he answered and spent a good 30 minutes answering questions and guiding us through the process, Carlson said. “I can only imagine how busy he has been, and his prompt responses and knowledge were critical to Hilltop’s success in helping businesses in our community.

 “When Rob first contacted us, I could sense the urgency in his voice – in that he wanted to take advantage of the PPP program so that he could ensure his employees would be paid during this uncertain time,” Carlson added. “The Monroes are a great family and Rob genuinely cares about his people. Nate’s Flowers has been an excellent business to work with over the years, and their flowers and gifts baskets are second to none.”

SBA Wyoming District Director Amy Lea says without passionate, knowledgeable community lenders like Hilltop Bank, the PPP wouldn’t have been as successful as it was.

“There’s no doubt this was an unprecedented public-private partnership, and nation-wide lenders processed more than 14 years’ worth of loans in just 14 days,” Lea said. “I can’t say enough good things about our state’s community lenders and the job they did supporting small businesses.”

For now, Nate’s Flowers and Gifts continues to make contactless deliveries and pickups from their 2nd Street location.

 “We’re excited for the day everything opens back up, but the health and safety of our employees comes first,” Monroe said. “Until then, we’ll continue to provide the same quality and service our customers have come to expect.”