COVID-EIDL Enhancements, What's Going on in Your Community for Entrepreneurs?

SBA Southeast Regional Update 


September 2021

u s small business administration

Illustration of a laptop with text that includes, PPP Forgiveness Portal

Since the opening of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Direct Borrower Forgiveness Portal on August 4, the U.S. Small Business Administration has received more than 340,000 submissions from borrowers with PPP loans of $150,000 or less, highlighting Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman’s priority of rushing relief to the smallest of small businesses and far exceeding expectations. 

Learn more about the forgiveness process and how to utilize the Direct Borrower Forgiveness Portal here.

Access Forgiveness Portal Here

COVID-EIDL Enhancements

Janita Stewart

By Janita R. Stewart
U.S. Small Business Administration’s Southeast Acting Regional Administrator, serving Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee

Did you hear about the enhancements made to the COVI EIDL Program? The SBA has been administering this economic recovery program for small businesses since the onset of Covid-19. Many businesses have been able to keep their doors open and retain staff during the most difficult of times with this loan program. The recent changes made to the program should prove to assist entrepreneurs even more during recovery and well beyond. Please visit for more detailed information on the enhancements. Some highlights include:

  • Increased Loan Cap to $2 Million

  • Expanded Use of Funds to Pay and Prepay Business Debt

  • Streamlined Review Processes

  • Deferred Payments

  • First Approval and Disbursement of Loans of $500,000 or Less Also Introduced.

EIDL Deadline Dec. 31, 2020


SBA Administrator Guzman Enhances COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program to Aid Small Businesses Facing Challenges from Delta Variant

WASHINGTON –  U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman announced major enhancements to the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, a federal disaster relief loan designed to better serve and support our small business communities still reeling from the pandemic, especially hard-hit sectors such as restaurants, gyms, and hotels. The SBA is ready to receive new applications immediately from small businesses looking to take advantage of these new policy changes.

“The SBA’s COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan program offers a lifeline to millions of small businesses who are still being impacted by the pandemic,” SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said. “We’ve retooled this critical program – increasing the borrowing limit to $2 million, offering 24 months of deferment, and expanding flexibility to allow borrowers to pay down higher-interest business debt. We have also ramped up our outreach efforts to ensure we’re connecting with our smallest businesses as well as those from low-income communities who may also be eligible for the companion COVID EIDL Targeted Advance and Supplemental Advance grants totaling up to $15,000.  Our mission-driven SBA team has been working around the clock to make the loan review process as user-friendly as possible to ensure every entrepreneur who needs help can get the capital they need to reopen, recover and rebuild.”

Key changes being announced by the SBA include:

  • Increasing the COVID EIDL Cap. The SBA will lift the COVID EIDL cap from $500,000 to $2 million. Loan funds can be used for any normal operating expenses and working capital, including payroll, purchasing equipment, and paying debt.
  • Implementation of a Deferred Payment Period.  The SBA will ensure small business owners will not have to begin COVID EIDL repayment until two years after loan origination so that they can get through the pandemic without having to worry about making ends meet.
  • Establishment of a 30-Day Exclusivity Window. To ensure Main Street businesses have additional time to access these funds, the SBA will implement a 30-day exclusivity window of approving and disbursing funds for loans of $500,000 or less. Approval and disbursement of loans over $500,000 will begin after the 30-day period.
  • Expansion of Eligible Use of Funds. COVID EIDL funds will now be eligible to prepay commercial debt and make payments on federal business debt.
  • Simplification of affiliation requirements. To ease the COVID EIDL application process for small businesses, the SBA has established more simplified affiliation requirements to model those of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

The enhancements to the COVID EIDL program will allow more businesses greater and more flexible support from the over $150 billion in available COVID EIDL funds. Additionally, these changes will help entrepreneurs access capital at a time when, according to a recent Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses survey, 44 percent of small business owners report having less than three months of cash reserves, and only 31 percent reporting confidence in gaining access to funding.

How to apply

Eligible small businesses, nonprofits, and agricultural businesses in all U.S. states and territories can apply. Visit to learn more about eligibility and application requirements. The last day that applications may be received is December 31, 2021. All applicants should file their applications as soon as possible.

Read Full Press Release Here

ICYMI: National Small Business Week Webinars Now on Demand!

Catch On-Demand Sessions from National Small Business Week here! Including appearances from SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman, Jennifer Lopez, Mark Cuban, José Andrés, and many more!

Guzman and Lopez

Hear from YOUR Local

SBA District Office

Tom Todt

Alabama District Office

Thomas (Tom) Todt, District Director


Attention Alabama Small Business Owners! Do you have a pending COVID19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (COVID19 EIDL)? Struggling to understand the process, the denials, the documents necessary, or how to overcome a denial? We can help provide clarity on the process and recommend ways to possibly overcome denials during our COVID EIDL Office hours. Starting September 10, 2021, office hours will be held Fridays at 10:00 am CST. Register at least 2 hours before each event to receive log in information.

Register Here

ALDO Office Hours

Malcolm Richards

North Florida District Office

Jon Malcolm Richards, District Director

The North Florida District Office hosted a Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration on September 16, 2021. The event focused on resiliency and rebuilding through the pandemic. Presenters discussed the latest economic and business statistics for Latinos, state, and local resources to help businesses pivot, and Hispanic Chambers of Commerce president perspectives. The event featured JIRACOR, a Hispanic-woman owned business in the North Florida Business Development portfolio. Ana Grogan, Marketing and Outreach Specialist; Jose “Ed” Ramos, Senior Area Manager for Orlando; and Carmen Gonzalez, Business Opportunity Specialist coordinated and hosted the event for the district. J. Malcolm Richards, SBA North Florida District Director addressed the group and welcomed the participants. Orange County, Florida provided a Proclamation to the SBA declaring September 16, 2021, as SBA North Florida District Office Hispanic Heritage Day for the event as part of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Pictured below are some of the participants on the call.

NFDO Hispanic Heritage Event

Gregory Hall

South Florida District Office

Gregory Hall, Acting District Director


Disaster Procurement
Houston/South Florida Joint Event


The best time to prepare to compete for contract opportunities during a disaster is before the event occurs. If you are not fully prepared, it decreases
your readiness and chances of success.
Attend this webinar to:

  • Learn more about how to do business with federal, state, and local government during disaster situations
  • Hear from a panel of business owners who have been awarded these types of contracts

Moderated By:  Valerie Coleman, Program Manager- Prime Contracts Program, SBA Office of Government Contracting GCBD


  • U.S. General Services Administration, (GSA) – Mark King, Customer Service Manager
  • Texas Division of Emergency Management – Randy Vivian, Section Chief, Business Outreach
  • Florida Division of Emergency Management- Bruce Roberts, Executive Director- Division of State, Purchasing, Office of Supplier Diversity
  • Miami-Dade County-Maria Carballeira, Procurement Policies and Training Manager

Support and Business Owners: • PTAC Florida: Kara Vernon- Specialist • Small Business: Stephanie Johnson-Simmons-Johnson Consulting • Small Business: Spurgeon Robinson- MPACTful Solutions

Wednesday, September 29, 2021
1:00pm-2:30pm CST / 2:00pm-3:30pm EST

Register Here

Oportunidades contractuales
durante un desastre
(evento conjunto Houston y sur de Florida)

El mejor momento para prepararse para competir por oportunidades contractuales durante un desastre es antes de que ocurra el evento. Si no está completamente preparado, disminuye su disposición y posibilidades de éxito. Asista a este seminario web para: 

  • Obtener más información sobre cómo hacer negocios con el gobierno federal, estatal y local durante situaciones de desastre
  • Escuchar a un panel de propietarios de negocios que han obtenido este tipo de

Moderado por: Alyn Fernandez, OMS, La Oficina del Distrito del sur de Florida


  • Administración de Servicios Generales de los Estados
    Unidos (GSA)– Sandra Reyes
  • Condado de Miami-Dade– Basia Pruna, ubdirector de División

    Propietarios de empresas y soporte: • PTAC Florida: Luis Batista- Consultor de contratación gubernamental • Propietarios de negocios del sur de Florida

Jueves, 30 de septiembre
1:00pm-2:30pm CST / 2:00pm-3:30pm EST


Terri Denison

Georgia District Office

Terri L. Denison, District Director

T31 Inspired Handcrafted Activewear

 When Elena Carne was growing up in a Venezuelan beach town, girls her age wanted to sport new bathing suits every weekend. Her parents couldn’t afford to buy that many garments, so she decided to make them herself. Soon she received requests from friends and others who loved her bathing suit designs and Elena discovered her passion for entrepreneurship. By the age of 21, she had an established business, but the political climate of her country made her leave home and also put her business on hold. It would be 12 more years before she returned to her passion for design.

Today, she’s the owner of T31 Inspired Handcraft Activewear, a small, minority and woman-owned manufacturer based in Americus, Ga. Her brand provides handcrafted leggings, tank tops and other ladies sportswear. “My South American culture is key to our creative process, but our southern roots embrace the more practical side,” she said. “We want to motivate ladies to live an active, positive lifestyle by incorporating vibrant colors with comfort and great quality.”

Once Elena relocated from Miami (where she attended Fashion Design school) to Americus in 2015 and started T31, she needed resources and connections to help get her business going.

Her local chamber first connected her with ACE Women’s Business Center staff, who encouraged her to participate in a large apparel show. She also attended a Women’s Business Center workshop at the SBA Georgia District Office and learned about opportunities to sell her manufactured goods under the label of another brand. Elena said the SBA Small Business Development Center also has been a helpful resource for her counseling needs.

Elena began T31 as a “solopreneur” but has grown to a small team of 3, which she said was key for the company to stay open when the COVID-19 pandemic started. The pandemic influenced her to develop a PPE division to sell fashionable face masks. She also partnered with her local community to donate thousands of face masks, isolation gowns, and head/shoe covers for healthcare providers and other frontline workers in Southwest Georgia.

Elena says SBA resource partners like the Women’s Business Center helped provide her with the essential tools to make her business successful and alerted her to many opportunities. ‘We have periodical meetings that always lead to great solutions and ideas,” she said about SBA resources. “We try to always take the training and courses they offer to keep us up to date with the constant changes in the small business world. I cannot imagine not having the resources they provide small business owners.”

Elena from Georgia

Robert Coffey

Kentucky District Office

Robert Coffey, District Director


KY Highlights Two Success Stories During Hispanic Heritage Month


Companies Use SBA Programs to Start, Grow - and Survive COVID

Universal Spartan

Universal Spartan, LLC

In 2013, Alejandro “Alex” Ramirez retired from the U.S. Army after 22 years of service. Before retiring, Alex participated in the SBA Boots to Business entrepreneurial training program on the Ft. Knox Army Base. He learned how best to start a small business and sought guidance from an SBDC counselor and SBA Veterans Business Development Officer.

With that guidance, Alex completed his business plan and started Universal Spartan, LLC. The company is a one-stop federal government product sourcing solution for tactical, IT, electrical and medical equipment. It is also certified as a Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB).

Those connections enabled Alex to also obtain an SBA State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) export grant and receive federal contract assistance from the Kentucky Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC). He later worked with the SBA to obtain certification in the 8(a) Business Development Program.     

In 2018, Alex was awarded the SBA Kentucky Veteran Owned Small Business of the Year and inducted into the Kentucky Veterans Hall of Fame in 2021. In 2019, he participated in the SBA Emerging Leaders program. But in between was COVID-19.

Universal Spartan obtained a PPP First and Second Draw Forgivable Loan, an EIDL and EIDL Advance grant to survive the pandemic in 2020 and early 2021. Alex formed a joint venture with a recently graduated 8(a) firm in West Kentucky, also an SDVOSB, and they just obtained a large federal contract.

Universal Spartan is on the 2021 Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. Last year, Alex received the Hispanic Veteran’s Business Enterprise of the Year Award from the National Veteran-Owned Business Association. He has received numerous other awards and started several nonprofit organizations.   

Alex stated: “The SBA and the SBDC have super-charged my business in so many ways. I know they will continue to support Universal Spartan in the future.”

Will Rivera

Running Soles, LLC

Will Rivera was an accomplished high school track and cross-country runner. Having numerous college scholarship offers, Will instead joined the U.S. Army. While serving, he became a certified natural running coach and ultra-marathoner. Last stationed at Ft. Knox in central Kentucky, Will retired after serving honorably for over 24 years.

While at Ft. Knox, he attended the Boots to Business program. Will worked with the SBDC in Elizabethtown to turn his passion into a retail business. The SBDC helped him develop a business plan and obtain an SBA loan in 2013. The result: a veteran-owned and family-owned business called Running Soles, LLC.

The store quickly outgrew its first location. With more assistance from the SBDC and an SBA loan, Will purchased a building. The larger facility includes meeting space and more room for more inventory. The company has regular running/walking clinics and workshops, and hosts nutritionists, physical therapists, medical and athletic experts.

Because of COVID-19 pandemic, the business and employees’ livelihoods were at risk. SBA provided Running Soles with an EIDL and EIDL Advance funds as well as a PPP forgivable loan to enable the company to survive.

Will said, “PPP and EIDL funds allowed us to make essential payments, like the business mortgage, utilities, insurance and bring our team back on the payroll.”

Will was the 2018 Hardin County Veteran Owned Business of the Year and 2019 SBA Kentucky Veteran Owned Small Business of the Year. He serves on the Hardin County Museum Board, regularly develops and organizes regional running clubs and events and often speaks about his commitment to community health and fitness.

Janita Stewart

Mississippi District Office

Janita Stewart, District Director


Mississippi Small Businesses recovering from the Pandemic with the help of 

SBA COVID-19 Relief Programs

Nick Wallace

Nick Wallace Culinary

Nick Wallace, owner of Nick Wallace Culinary passion is cooking and helping his community. The Jackson, Mississippi Chef was able to stabilize and expand his business during the COVID-19 pandemic. “From the start of the pandemic, many life objectives became blurry, and then it got even more blurred,” said Nick.  Nick wasn't sure what would happen to his business that he built from a grassroots effort.

Nick started heavily promoting his catering business, and it got busy. He decided to change his focus but stay on the path of cooking. Nick heard about the SBA COVID-19 relief options that offered help to small businesses affected by COVID-19. Nick applied for EIDL, and said, “Just applying gave me so much hope that this world as we know it isn't over. Most importantly, I get to look my team in the eye and give them hope.”  Read more here

Sal and Mookies

Sal & Mookie’s New York Pizza & Ice Cream Joint

Jeff Good and Dan Blumenthal

Jeff Good and Daniel Blumenthal, Owners of Sal & Mookie’s New York Pizza & Ice Cream Joint of Jackson, Mississippi, built a business from the ground up by being focused, fearless and fun.  The pair are best friends from high school who opened the 250-seat pizza restaurant and ice cream scoop shop in 2007 after operating two other successful restaurants in Jackson. Sal & Mookie’s New York Pizza and Ice Cream Joint offers signature pizza/pasta dishes, signature flavor ice creams, alcoholic/ nonalcoholic beverages, and a full dessert menu.  

Jeff Good and Daniel Blumenthal received the SBA 2013 Mississippi Small Business Person(s) of the Year award by the Mississippi District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration. 

During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, Jeff and Daniel were able to obtain funding for their business under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP Loan), Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance to sustain the business due to a loss of revenue. This afforded a resumption of employment for employees who were furloughed during the pandemic. In 2021, SBA introduced the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF). This program aided restaurants, bars and other food service businesses impacted by COVID-19. Sal & Mookie’s New York Pizza & Ice Cream Joint received RRF funding to help the restaurant during the pandemic. Read more here

Michael Arriola

North Carolina District Office

Michael Arriola, District Director


Deputy District Director for North Carolina Announced


Aregnaz Mooradian

SBA District Director Mike Arriola announced that Ms. Aregnaz Mooradian has been named the Deputy District Director for the SBA North Carolina District Office.  Aregnaz has served as the Lead Business Opportunity Specialist for the North Carolina District Office, supporting the state’s portfolio of 8(a) certified firms.  As the Deputy, Aregnaz will be Mike’s partner in leading the district office in its mission to aid, counsel and assist small businesses in the state of North Carolina. Aregnaz began her SBA career as a Business Opportunity and Lender Relations Specialist in 2013 at the Arizona District Office in Phoenix.

National Hispanic Heritage Month

The North Carolina District Office is pleased to honor Hispanic Heritage Month by showcasing one of our North Carolina successes – Ms. Ethel Torres of National Drug Source.

Ethel Torres

Fifteen years ago, Ethel Torres, alongside her husband Jason, National Drug Source (NDS) in Concord, North Carolina. From day one, Torres and her team embraced the mission of helping their healthcare partners procure products from a secure supply chain, at competitive prices, and on a robust and efficient pricing platform. Taking great pride in their proficiency, NDS responsibly supplies health products in the local community, within the United States, and across international borders.

However, with a background in nursing, Torres had her share of challenges as a business owner.  Thus, in 2015 Torres took an SBA-sponsored class at the Small Business Technology and Development Center called Exporting 101.

“I wish I knew about the SBA before I started NDS -- it would have made things much easier,” said Torres. “We could have gained more traction, much quicker.”

Following the exporting course Torres was introduced to the SBA’s Emerging Leaders course and encouraged her husband to attend. Setting NDS on a course for success, she credits the four-month program as the pivot point of her business.

“With no business background, the [Emerging Leaders] course can help aspiring entrepreneurs to gain knowledge to scale up,” said Torres. “It provided my husband and I with important tools for growth, connections to first-generation entrepreneurs, and a skill set in business.”

With a much deeper knowledge of the market, supply chain, and an ability to identify the correct business opportunities, NDS began exporting to the Caribbean and Central America.

“We doubled sales as a result of the changes we made to NDS following the Emerging Leaders course,” said Torres. “I was able to develop the business and create a strategy to evolve and embrace further growth.”

But the COVID-19 pandemic impacted NDS operations, and sales began to falter. With the reduction in revenue, questions on maintaining the NDS workforce arose. That is when Torres decided to again reach out to the SBA, this time applying for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan. Within a few weeks the loan was approved and NDS was able to keep a full-time staff.

“The PPP was a slam dunk for our staff,” said Torres. “The PPP saved our business.”

NDS continues to grow globally, exporting to six continents and providing a vital connection through important medications to audiences worldwide. Additionally, NDS has established an e-commerce platform and are looking to further move into the government contracting space. Yet, when asked what is most important to her as an entrepreneur Torres replies, “giving back to the community by teaching business classes and having the opportunity to help other entrepreneurs.”

Kudos to Ethel and the NDS Team, and Happy Hispanic Heritage Month to all!

Richard White

South Carolina District Office

Richard "Gregg" White, District Director

The SBA South Carolina District Office (SCDO) celebrated National Small Business Week with the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs and the City of Columbia in two events honoring small businesses and their journey to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. On September 14th, the SCDO provided a program overview of SBA and the variety of agency resources, funding programs, and contracting certifications. On September 16th, SBA discussed how to do business with the federal government, which included registering in the Systems for Awards Management and bidding on federal contracts. The SCDO also was a guest speaker at the Opportunities Out of Crisis Conference and discussed disaster recovery resources. Thank you to our strategic alliance partners and all who participated!

South Carolina Small Business Week Webinar

LaTanya Channel

Tennessee District Office

LaTanya Channel, District Director


The Tennessee District Office celebrated National Small Business Week with the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and with Tennessee SBA Lenders in two events. On September 15th, SBA Tennessee took part in the 3rd and final session of the 2021 Music City Small Business Lenders Virtual Workshop series on “Creating an Efficient, Effective and Successful SBA Lending Program” with special SBA headquarters guest speaker, Diana Seaborn.  On September 14th, the TNDO provided an overview of SBA and the SBDC statewide resources as well as an update on COVID relief coupled with an inspirational presentation by Sherry Deutschmann. Via Zoom and FACEBOOK LIVE,  Sherry Deutschmann, who is founder of BrainTrust, author of “Lunch with Lucy”, a WBC Board Member, and new partner with the Memphis Women’s Business Center (WBC), provided practical steps for small businesses to “Say NO” in order to reach their first 1 million dollars in revenue. 

To learn more about the  new Women’s Business Center in Memphis, Sign Up Here for the monthly Info Session on WBC South, held on the 1st Tuesday of every month at 3pm.

WBC South