How Small Businesses Move Forward

How Small Businesses Move Forward
By Chris Clark, President & CEO, Georgia Chamber of Commerce

As Georgians track the daily statistics on COVID-19, praying for our families as well as those combating the pandemic, we are also gaining a clearer picture for another set of startling data. The economic impact of Coronavirus will, by many expert projections, lead to a prolonged recession.

To put this in perspective, consider the following:

  • Last week, the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) reported an unprecedented increase in new unemployment claims, having received over 125,000 in the last week alone, roughly 25 times more than its 7-day average.
  • The U.S. Department of Labor is expected to see claims rise above 8.7 million before the COVID-19 crisis subsides.
  • Moody Analytics now estimates that Georgia is experiencing a decline of 20% in daily GDP.
  • A recent J.P. Morgan-Chase survey noted that over 50% of American small businesses have less than 15 days of cash on-hand.
  • The U.S. Chamber shared this week that 54% of all small businesses are reporting they have closed or could close within the coming weeks and 43% of small businesses say they are three-to-six months away from permanently shutting down.
  1. Through the first few weeks of this crisis, Georgia businesses were working on their own to mitigate loss and prepare for additional impact. However, with the passage of the CARES Act, there are now tangible and clearly defined avenues for immediate relief. Senior U.S. Senator David Perdue and our entire Congressional Delegation have worked around the clock for weeks to pass this landmark legislation and, together with Governor Kemp’s swift and responsive action to secure a Federal Disaster designation, Georgia small businesses now have a roadmap for weathering this storm.Though there are several programs out there to support the business community, the following two programs are highly recommended* as they are specific to small business needs and provide the most immediate and direct form of relief: 1Apply for a Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and grant. SBA recommends completing the application online and the University of Georgia’s Small Business Development Center ( stands ready to assist your business through the application process out of their 17 offices. The Small Business Administration has also built a portal to walk applicants through the process for the EIDL program and it can be found here – The online application takes approximately two hours to complete.
  2. Apply for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) through your local lender. Application for this program can be managed through your local banking institution. The Georgia Chamber is providing a list of 7a-preferred local lending member institutions who are participating in the PPP program. This list will be found on our website. For more information about this program or to find a lender near you, visit the SBA’s website here,

Last week, SBA Administrator Ashley Bell and Synovus Director of Government Guaranteed Lending Joseph Shuford took some time with us to discuss these programs and share in detail the ways in which small businesses can readily apply for and obtain this much-needed support. The conversation was recorded and is available to all Georgia businesses on the Chamber’s YouTube channel,

As departments at both the federal and state levels work to deliver timely and relevant resources for small business assistance, the Georgia Chamber will continue to collect, organize and provide these resources to the business community as effectively as we can. Additional resources for consideration include the following:

Federal Resources

  • Overview of Federal Stimulus Phases 1, 2 and 3
  • U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Emergency Loans Overview
  • U.S. Chamber Response Tool Kit
  • U.S. Chamber Small Business Guide & Resources

State/Local Resources

  • Governor Kemp and UGA’s release on CARES Act funding overview
  • University of Georgia Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Overview
  • Georgia Department of Labor’s (GDOL) Expanded Rules & Resources Overview and related FAQs
  • Georgia Chamber’s Small Business Guidance on Emergency Loans
  • Synovus Bank’s comparison sheet on the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) and Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)

To access the links to these online resources, Georgia Chamber has compiled a one-pager that can be found on our website at

While the safety and health of every citizen remains top priority during this global pandemic, we must also prudently and strategically plan for an expedited economic recovery. We will continue to lead with integrity, putting our citizens, employees and businesses first. It is through this commitment that Georgia will overcome the COVID-19 crisis and emerge from it with resiliency and strength.

*The Georgia Chamber seeks to provide access to recommendations, regulations, services and expertise to its members. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this mission remains constant. Prior to acting, members should consult their own professional advisors for information and counsel specific to the individual and unique situations faced by organizations, individuals and corporations. The opinions, interpretations and recommendations of the Georgia Chamber are informational only and should not be relied upon by the recipient as legal or professional advice. The Georgia Chamber makes no representations as to the accuracy or reliability of the content contained herein. Users of this information accept any and all risks associated with the use of such information and agree that the Georgia Chamber has no liability to user.

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