Civic News

As PPP loans open again, here’s what small business owners learned in the last round

On Jan. 11, applications are only open for businesses using community financial institutions, which lend to minority-owned and economically disadvantaged businesses.

The Avisi Technologies team.

(Courtesy photo)

The Paycheck Protection Program, initially rolled out last spring to help businesses survive the financial blows of the coronavirus pandemic, is open again for another round of loans.

The program is intended to incentive small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll instead of laying them off, and the Small Business Administration will forgive the loans if all employee retention criteria are met and the funds are used for eligible expenses. That criteria includes payroll costs, payments on business mortgage interest payments, rent or utilities.

The terms of PPP, round two

On Monday, Jan. 11, the loan applications opened with priority for first-draw loan applications from participating community financial institutions, which are financial institutions dedicated to affordable lending to low-income and low-wealth communities and people of color. On Monday and Tuesday, applications are limited to small businesses that didn’t receive loans the first time around and who lend with CFIs.

Community development financial institutions are included in this round. Many business owners banking with these institutions had a hard time securing loans during the program’s first round, or didn’t apply. Find local CDFIs here.

This round, businesses can also apply for a second draw. That means businesses that got a loan last year can get a second PPP loan in 2021. Eligibility for a second loan requires that a business received a first loan and “will or has used” all of the money. Businesses also must have fewer than 300 employees, and need to demonstrate a 25% reduction in gross receipts between between quarters in 2019 and 2020.


Terms for a first-draw loan can be found here, and a second-draw loan can be found here. The reopening date for lenders beyond community financial institutions has yet to be announced.

Will Philly companies apply for PPP in the second round?

When applications first opened in April 2020, checked in with leaders of companies contemplating applying for the loan to sustain their operations. A handful rushed to their banks to apply, only to find out the institution wasn’t yet ready to give out the loans, or were still prepping materials needed to submit their applications.

Rui Jing Jiang, CEO of medtech startup Avisi Technologies, said on April 3, 2020, that the company had been anticipating the rollout and had plans to apply. Last week, the CEO told that Avisi had indeed applied for and received a small loan through Customer’s Bank. It was a smooth process, Jiang said.

“We did the first round of PPP but thankfully won’t be needing the second,” she wrote in an email. “Our loan was very small and served to extend our runway while we fundraised. Overall, I think it’s positive that the government is giving support to small businesses — in difficult economic times like these, every bit can help.”

In April, Adit Gupta, cofounder of now-shuttered Vyb, a business review app, said the company was applying “to everything” including the PPP loan and SBA disaster relief loans. He and cofounders shut down the app over the summer, and he quickly moved on to launch an eco-friendly convenience store delivery startup, Lula.

Gupta said on Monday that he and his Vyb team had applied for the PPP loan back in the spring, but didn’t receive it.

“The process was straight-forward, but I’d recommend making sure you have appropriate financials and have mulled over the goals for the PPP funding,” Gupta said. “As a business, there certainly is a need for additional funding.”

He added that he feels the government should be allocating this funding to businesses that are hit harder than others during the pandemic, like those in the hospitality space, more so than general corporations.

“I think the PPP should be focused on such businesses,” he said. “But at the same time, a problem is that most mom-pop shops may not have the appropriate financial tracking to take advantage of the PPP funds.”

Check out SBA data on which local companies received first-round PPP loans here. For a fuller understanding of changes to this round of PPP loans, and who is eligible to apply, find resources at

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