Mount Helena
Practicing Safety From COVID Cover

Small Business Resources

U.S. Small Business Administration

Office of Governor Steve Bullock

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

U.S. Chamber of Commerce- Independent Contractor’s Guide to Cares Act Relief

Coronovirus Emergency Loans- Small Business Guide & Check List

Montana Department of Labor and Industry

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Update

Below is information we have received from the SBA District Office today:

EIDL for agri-business: New applications for agri businesses will be the only new applications accepted. The web site is supposed to specifically note that fact, but it is likely some people who are not agri businesses will also apply. If they do apply they will get a note from the Office of Disaster Assistance (ODA) saying they are not eligible because it is for agri business only.

EIDL for applicants who need to re-apply: Also, even though the website will say it is for agri business only, ODA states that if someone who has a 200 series EIDL loan number (meaning that they were in the initial group and need to reapply) they WILL be able to re-apply and have their new loan number tied to their original loan number so they don’t lose their place in line.

For EIDL, go directly to the SBA website –

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

Guide to PPP Loan Forgiveness

PPP FAQ’s: Questions 40-42 were put up over the weekend.

-Employees who decline to return to work

-Seasonal employer certifications


PPP remaining funds: SBA headquarters reports there is approximately $140 Billion funds remaining for PPP. If any businesses still want to apply, funding currently remains available

Paycheck Protection Program has Reopened

Click here for more information

Montana Coronavirus Relief Grants

Governor Steve Bullock announced that families, small businesses, non-profits, health services centers and individuals across Montana hardest-hit by impacts of COVID-19 will be eligible to apply for grants through nine new programs created in response to the emergency.

Guided by more than 1,400 public comments and his Coronavirus Relief Fund Advisory Council, Governor Bullock is making $123,550,000 available in the first round of emergency grants funded through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

“Montanans have made it clear it’s imperative that we step in and do everything possible to ensure small businesses can responsibly reopen, non-profits continue to serve our vibrant communities, homeowners can stay in their homes, and Montanans most in-need have access to services,” Governor Bullock said. “We’re all in this together and I know Montana will emerge from this challenge even stronger than before.”

Beginning Thursday, May 7, Montanans out of work, families with limited resources, small businesses, non-profits and others can apply for financial relief for things like rental and mortgage assistance, business and non-profit grants, grants to serve seniors and those living with a disability, food banks and local food producers.

The following new programs join the state’s suite of existing support services and direct federal appropriations:

  • The Montana Business Stabilization Grant program will provide working capital for Montana-owned small businesses with 50 or fewer employees that have sustained a loss of revenue due to COVID 19. Current funding available is $50 million, the maximum award amount per business is $10,000.
  • The Montana Innovation Grant program is intended to help companies scale up, improve capabilities, or drive expanded distribution of products or services developed in response to COVID-19. Non-profit and for-profit businesses of less than 150 employees with primary operations in Montana that have created an innovative product or service intended to directly confront the COVID-19 emergency can apply for grants of up to $25,000. Current funding available is $5 million.
  • Montana Food and Agriculture Adaptability Program grants are available to food and agriculture businesses to help increase community resilience amid the COVID-19 pandemic and other economic disruptions. Examples of eligible projects include those focused on accessing new markets, projects which strengthen and expand local food systems, and other business adaptations that decrease food and agricultural waste. Current funding available is $500,000, with a maximum grant award of $10,000.
  • Emergency Housing Assistance Program will provide rent, security deposit, mortgage payment, and/or hazard insurance assistance as-needed for Montanans who have lost a job or substantial income loss as a result of COVID-19. Initial payments may include up to three months assistance where the eligible household can demonstrate arrears for April and May, with continuable inability to make their June payment. Montana Housing will pay the difference between 30 percent of the household’s current gross monthly income and their eligible housing assistance costs, up to $2,000 a month. Household income limits range from $75,000-$125,000 based on family size. Montanans receiving other forms of housing assistance are not eligible. Total funding available is $50 million.
  • Public Health Grants are available to local and tribal health departments and urban tribal clinics to help in the response to COVID-19 and to meet the needs of their communities. Each organization is eligible to apply for funding. Current funding available is $5 million.
  • Stay Connected Grants ranging from $500-$2,000 per applicant are available to reduce social isolation among Montana’s seniors. Eligible applicants include area agencies on aging, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and tribal elder services. Grant funds can be used to fund technologies and other efforts to encourage physically distant forms of social interaction for elderly Montanans during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Current funding available is $400,000.
  • Food Bank and Food Pantry Assistance of up to $50,000 per applicant are available to increase food security for Montanans hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible applicants include community organizations providing food assistance to Montanans with limited resources, food banks, food pantries, community cupboards, and entities with infrastructures already in place to begin new food distribution programs. Current funding available is $2 million.
  • Social Services Nonprofit Grants of up to $10,000 per applicant are available for nonprofit organizations impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency to retain existing programs and services, employees, or organizational viability for provision of future services and operations. Eligible applicants are registered, Montana-based social service nonprofits that were operating prior to February 15, 2020. Current funding available is $10 million.
  • Telework Assistance Grants of up to $1,000 per individual will go towards purchasing equipment to assist Montanans with disabilities access telework equipment. DPHHS will partner with a local non-profit organization to assess and support assistive technology needs of individuals with disabilities during COVID-19. This assistance will help ensure people with disabilities have the equipment needed to adapt to the change in working environment due to COVID-19. Current funding available is $650,000.

A comprehensive information resource and application portal is available at COVIDRELIEF.MT.GOV. The application portion of the website will go live at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 7. To prepare for the application, businesses and non-profits should have their tax ID, proof of business registration, a brief description of how the grant will be spent, and a brief description of how COVID-19 has impacted operations. Homeowners and renters should have bank account information available and verification of job or income loss.

Montana Loan Deferment Program Now Accepting Applications

Governor Bullock announced the creation of a loan deferment program to assist Montana businesses impacted by COVID-19. The governor is directing $125 million to the program with $25 million specifically dedicated to hotels and restaurants and the remaining $100 million dedicated to other eligible borrowers. 

The Montana Loan Deferment Program is facilitated by Montana banks, credit unions, and lending institutions in partnership with the State of Montana. Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) will be used to provide payments to participating lenders to convert existing commercial loans to interest only status, with the result being an existing borrower will be able to defer principal and interest payments on existing loans for a period of 6 to 12 months, thereby freeing up a significant amount of otherwise-dedicated capital for the borrower on a monthly basis.

Click here for more information.

 Montana businesses should contact their lender to access the program.


Take Out, Curbside Options

With the recent closures of dine-in options in our local facilities, the Chamber would like to encourage you to participate in a “Take-Out Blitz” to inject some business and dollars into these businesses who are impacted.   If you don’t want to order take-out – go on-line and buy some gift cards to use later when they re-open all services!  

Let’s show some Helena support!!! 

List of Businesses Still Open



On Tuesday, November 17, Governor Bullock announced three new directives to take effect Friday, November 20.

1. All restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries and casinos must limit capacity to 50 percent and close at 10 p.m. Restaurants may reopen at 4 a.m. the next day.

2. All public gatherings are limited to 25 people or fewer. Any public gatherings or events where it is not possible to practice social distancing or where social distancing is not being practiced must be strictly limited to 25 people or fewer.

3.  Face masks are required in public areas in all counties in Montana, not just ones with four or more active cases.


City of Helena

Lewis and Clark Public Health

Communicable Disease Team will be having virtual meetings every Friday at 8:30 a.m. Mountain Standard Time which will give you the current situation update and have your questions & answers included.
Join Zoom Meeting                                                     Meeting ID: 625 571 519                                  Find your local number:

Retail Businesses Phase One Reopening Strategy in Response to COVID-19

Retail Businesses Phase Two Reopening Strategy in Response to COVID-19

U.S. Chamber small biz webinars and free resources

Workshop Wednesday: Pivoting Your Business to Survive the Pandemic

Join us this Wednesday, May 6th at 10:30 am EST for our fourth part of our virtual series from CO—, an audience-driven discussion designed specifically for the small business community.

Jeanette Mulvey, Content Director at CO—, will bring together experts and small business owners alike to discuss new ways businesses are adjusting their operations to survive the pandemic. We’ll share strategies from business owners who have shifted their models and offerings, and will give you fresh ideas to keep your company running:

  • Chris Herron, Co-Founder and CEO, Creature Comforts Brewing Co. (Athens, GA)
  • Ramon Ray, Founder, (New York, NY)
  • Bridget Weston, Acting CEO, SCORE (Herndon, VA)

Register for 5.6 Workshop Wednesday

National Small Business Town Hall

Join us on Friday, May 8 at noon ET for the seventh installment of the U.S. Chamber/Inc. live series.

This week, we’ll continue the discussion to help business owners navigate the aid available to them. Our co-hosts U.S. Chamber Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley and Inc. Editor-at-Large Kimberly Weisul will break down the latest action from Washington, lay out the processes you should follow to make the most of the resources at hand, and give you the insight you need to plan your next move.

Want to hear what we discussed last week? Click here to view the recording. 

Register for 5.8 Town Hall

Tips for Your Small Business

Our teams at CO— are working quickly to update and publish new resources and tips every day for small businesses, from how to effectively manage a team remotely, to mastering social media, to utilizing technology to keep productive at home. Bookmark this page as your go-to resource during this crisis to get the latest stories.


Loan Program Checklists for Small Business

U.S. Chamber experts have been busy putting together guides and checklists to help you navigate the various loan programs available through the stimulus bill for small businesses. See below for a guide on each and how it can help you:

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) published its first round of implementation guidance pursuant to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).   The guidance addresses critical questions such as:

  • How does an employer count its number of employees to determine coverage?
  • How can small businesses obtain an exemption?
  • How does an employer count hours for part-time employees?
  • How does an employer calculate wages employees are entitled to under the FFCRA?

The initial WHD guidance is available in three-parts:

White House Fact Sheet

Small Business Administration

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

National Association of Manufacturers

U.S. Export-Import Bank

Aerospace Industries Association

DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Stakeholder Conference Calls

Date & Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:00 PM ET – until further notice

Teleconference: 1-800-593-7177

Participant passcode: 7963614

Payroll Protection Program (PPP) Loan Clarifications for Self-Employment Income and Gaming Revenue

U.S. Treasury has issued another interim rule that clarifies eligibility and payroll calculations for individuals with self-employment income who file Form 1040, Schedule C, as well as details on how partnerships are treated. The rule also clarifies eligible use of PPP loan proceeds and amounts eligible for forgiveness, including documentation that you will need to provide to your lender.

The rule also opens PPP eligibility in regard to businesses with gaming revenue. Businesses are eligible if their legal gaming revenue (net of payouts but not other expenses) did not exceed $1 million in 2019 AND legal gaming revenue (net of payouts but not other expenses) comprised less than 50% of the business’s total revenue in 2019.

Treasury also updated the FAQ document which you may find helpful.

For more information, please visit the U.S. Department of Treasury Website.

Farm Businesses Eligible for PPP

The SBA Montana District Office has this afternoon confirmed that farm businesses are eligible for PPP loans. Banks may rely on Schedule F to determine an eligible PPP loan based on payroll and wage costs. Yes, you add line 34 to the calculus.

EIDL SBA Disaster Loans

Keep in mind that PPP loans proceeds can only be used for payroll, rent, mortgage, and utility expenses and at least 75% must be used for payroll costs. SBA Disaster loan proceeds can be used for a wide assortment of business needs to address the COVID crisis. So, it still makes sense for many companies to apply for both programs. Think long-term for EIDL because your loan, if approved, probably will not fund for months. SBA has limited the quick advances on EIDL loans to $1,000 per employee up to a maximum of $10,000. The advanced amount will be deducted from any PPP loan forgiveness you are approved for.

Very Small Companies

If you have few employees, you may find yourself in a catch-22 situation. Some banks are not accepting PPP applications under $10,000, advising businesses to instead go after the EIDL advance. However, you will be limited to $1,000/employee for the EIDL advance which may not help you that much. If you find yourself in this situation, explain it to your banker or perhaps ask another bank or credit union. We are trying to convince Treasury to make CDFI’s eligible to do PPP loans so we could help these very small businesses.

If you need immediate cash and are not getting anywhere with either PPP or EIDL, we can make small loans. The lowest interest rate we can go is 4% and we can’t do any grants or loan forgiveness, but we do have funds available.

Federal Reserve Main Street Loans

The Federal Reserve has created a Main Street Lending Program to enhance support for small and mid-size businesses that were in good financial shape before the crisis. According to the Fed, mid-sized businesses are those with up to 10,000 employees, or revenue up to $2.5 billion. These loans will be made through your bank; minimum loan size $1 million. They are structured as 4-year loans. The Fed will buy 95% of each loan from banks. Firms that have taken advantage of the PPP may also take out Main Street Loans.

Here is a link to the Federal Reserve press release. And here is the Main Street New Loan Facility Term Sheet and the Main Street Expanded Loan Facility Term Sheet.



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