The Biden administration announced the change to the Paycheck Protection Program on Monday, along with other measures to improve access to funding for minority-owned businesses. Small businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 20 employees will have a two-week exclusive window to apply for Paycheck Protection Program funds beginning Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 9 am ET. This will give lenders and community partners more time to work with the smallest businesses to submit their applications, while also ensuring that larger PPP-eligible businesses will still have plenty of time to apply for and receive support before the program expires on March 31, 2021. The administration will also offer more relief to sole proprietors and independent contractors, with $1 billion set aside for those located in low-and moderate-income areas.
The Paycheck Protection Program was developed as a way to keep small businesses afloat during the pandemic by offering them forgivable loans under the agreement they do not lay off workers. The program has made more than $662 billion in loans available to businesses, money that can be used to fund payroll, or pay mortgage interest, rent utilities or other costs related to the pandemic.