The Helm

Your Complete Guide to Emergency Funding: Everything Female Founders Need to Know

From how to access SBA Disaster Recovery Loans, to grants and relief packages, this guide is a frequently-updated list of everything women-led businesses will need to weather the impacts of Coronavirus.

The coronavirus pandemic has left thousands of small businesses wondering what to do about cash, debt and staff, and for female entrepreneurs dealing with the consequences of this crisis, just navigating the loans, grants, and aid available can be overwhelming. To simplify things, we’ve created a state-by-state and country-wide roundup of government-backed and corporate resources.


Government Resources

CARES Act can support small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and through an expanded form of SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs).

  • The PPP sets aside $350 billion for loans up to $10 million (with an interest rate no higher than 4%) to small businesses with fewer than 500 employees. The loans are to ensure that small businesses can keep their staff employed. If used to maintain employees during the 8 weeks following the origination of the loan, the amount will be forgiven and converted to dollar-for-dollar grants. Read more here.
  • The expanded form of EIDLs enables small businesses (with fewer than 500 employees) to apply for loans up to $200,000 without the need of a personal guarantee, and the loans can now be approved solely based on the applicant’s credit score. Borrowers can also receive emergency cash grants of up to $10,000 that can be forgiven if spent on paid leave, maintaining payroll, increased costs due to supply chain disruptions, mortgage or lease payments, or repaying obligations that can’t be met due to loss of revenue. Read more here.

The Small Business Association (SBA) is offering disaster assistance loans up to $2 million for small businesses affected by COVID-19. These low-interest loans are available to businesses that have sustained “substantial economic injury” due to the spread of the virus. Read more here to determine if your business is eligible.

  • If your business is not eligible for SBA’s disaster loan, see here for their alternative loan resources.
  • Use their search tool to find local assistance.
  • Plans for federal assistance for small businesses are still being determined. Read the full proposal here.

General Funds

  • Digital Undivided has launched the Doonie Fund, which provides an immediate economic investment of $100 for black women who own businesses. Learn more here.
  • SheaMoisture has announced a $1 million fund for women of color entrepreneurs and small business owners. From now throughout the end of April, 10 business owners will be selected and awarded $10,000 each. Learn more here.
  • Sara Blakely is committing $5 million to support female-founded businesses. The fund will gift 1,000 female business owners with $5,000 grants along with a free annual All-Access Pass to the online education platform Masterclass. Applications open April 6th. Learn more here.
  • Anonymous Was A Woman and the New York Foundation for the Arts are together launching an emergency relief program to support artists with grants up to $2,500. The program is open to women-identifying visual artists over the age of 40 in the U.S, and applications open April 6th. Read more here.
  • Vogue and CFDA are repurposing the Vogue/CFDA Fashion Fund to create A Common Thread—a fundraising initiative supporting those in the American fashion community who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications open April 8th. In the meantime, read here for more information.
  • Facebook has announced a small business grant that is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits. More information about eligibility is to be announced, but it will be available to 30,000 businesses in over 30 countries where Facebook currently operates. Read more here.
  • Opportunity Fund, which specializes in money lending to small businesses owned by women, immigrants, and people of color, is soon launching a coronavirus relief fund. It will provide grants and low-interest rate loans to business owners. Read about it here and stay tuned for more information.
  • James Beard Foundation is providing micro-grants to independent food and beverage small businesses in need through their Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund. Read more here.
  • Yelp has announced a $25 million relief fund primarily focused on supporting independent local restaurants and nightlife businesses in the form of waived advertising fees, and free advertising, products, and services. Read more here.
  • Hello Alice‘s Business for All offers up to $200,000 business grants and mentorships from influential leaders like Gwyneth Paltrow and Rebecca Minkoff. Read more here.
  • JPMorgan Chase is committing $8 million to assist small businesses in U.S., China, and Europe. Read more here.
  • The Soze Agency, Taskforce, and Invisible Hand have created a fund in support of artists & activists who are impacted by COVID-19. They will provide $250 to selected applicants on an on-going basis and, at the moment, they have $30,500 for the first round of grants. Apply here.
  • Bumble is offering up to $5,000 in monetary support for small businesses affected by COVID-19. Download the @bumble app and use any mode to match with their Bumble Community Grants profile to learn more and apply.
  • Lowe’s is committing $3 million to supporting local small businesses, particularly skilled trade professionals, to continue to operate through the current conditions. Read more here.
  • IFundWomen and Visa are granting 3 early stage female founders a $10,000 cash prize for their small businesses. Although not specifically created as a response to COVID-19, they are accepting applications now through April 7, 2020. Read more here.
  • Designer of Pyer Moss, Kerby Jean-Reymond, has set aside $50,000 for “minority and women-owned small creative businesses who are currently in distress.” More information here.
  • Beyond its normal fundraising offerings, crowdfunding platform MainVest has launched a $2,000, zero-interest, 120-day loan for restaurants or other brick and mortars affected by COVID-19. Read more here.
  • Register your business to Kabbage (here) and Help Main Street! (here) to enable customers to easily buy gift cards that provide critical cash support during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Jewish Free Loan Society are granting no-fee and interest-free loans for businesses in the LA area that have been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. Read more here.

Additional Information &  Resources

The IRS has extended the deadline to file federal tax returns to July 15, 2020.
The deadline for tax payments up to $10 million for businesses has also been extended to July 15, 2020.

The below states have also reduced or waived penalties on late tax payments:

  • California State Tax deadline is extended to July 15
  • Connecticut provides extension for certain business taxes by at least 30 days.
  • Maryland has extended business-related tax filing deadlines until June 1st
  • North Carolina is under certain conditions waving some penalties.
  • South Carolina is offering an extension for state tax returns and payments.
  • Washington is allowing business to request a filing extension or a late payment penalty waiver request.

Many banks are offering deferment and forbearance to business loan customers. See below for a list of banks that are working with customers on a ‘case-by-case’ basis to overcome financial difficulties:

  • American Express: waiving interest on late fees on accounts that are requesting COVID-19 relief. More information here.
  • Bank of America: Committed to giving relief on a ‘case-by-case’ basis for small business loans, mortgages, deposit accounts, credit cards, etc. Read more here.
  • Capital One: Have pledged that they are working with customers that experience financial difficulties. Read more here.
  • Chase Bank: call the number on the back of your credit or debit card for direct assistance with your payments or account.
  • Citi: For 30 days, small business customers are eligible to have their monthly service fees waived. They’re also waiving the fees on early CD withdrawals. Read more here.
  • U.S. Bank: Reach out to customer service if you’re a customer that has been impacted by coronavirus to discuss individual solutions. Read more here.
  • Wells Fargo: Has donated $6.25 million to help the public relief effort and are encouraging customers that are experiencing financial hardships to contact customer service.



  • Birmingham Strong Emergency Loan Fund: An emergency loan that will provide up to $25,000, zero-interest, 180-day loans to small businesses (with less than 50 employees) to prevent staff reductions, offset losses related to coronavirus, and help companies sponsor sick pay for workers. Read more here.
  • Quick Action Loan Program: A total allocation of $7 million for small businesses allowing eligible companies to apply for a loan or loan guaranty of up to $250,000. Read more here.
  • California Capital Access Program for Small Business: A loan loss reserve program which may provide up to 100 percent coverage on losses as a result of certain loan defaults. Read more here.
  • COVID-19 Emergency Health Grant for Artists: Women’s Center for Creative Work (WCCW) is offering $1,000 grants for low-income artists who identify as a woman, as trans or nonbinary, and/or as a person of color, who live in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside or San Bernardino Counties. Read more here.
  • La Luz Microloan Program: Providing loans ranging from $1,000 to $50,000 to existing businesses that would not be eligible for traditional bank loans in Sonoma Valley. Read more here.
  • Los Angeles Small Business Emergency Micro-loan Program: Newly established micro-loan program to provide the financing needed to strengthen small business enterprises. It offers loans ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 with 0 to 3 percent interest rates. Determine your eligibility and apply here.
  • Sacramento Small Business Emergency Economic Relief Program: A $1 million economic relief fund for businesses. The zero-interest loans are granted up to $25,000 per business. Learn more here and apply here.
  • San Fransisco COVID-19 Small Business Resiliency Fund: For businesses engaged in activities regulated by the City and County of San Fransisco, and have a license/permit associated with that regulation, this fund will allow impacted small business owners (with fewer than 5 employees) to access up to $10,000. Read more here.
  • San Fransisco Emerging Business Loan Fund: Main Street Launch will provide capital to businesses, with small business loans ranging from $10,000 to $250,000. Read more here.
  • Denver Small Business Emergency Relief: Offers cash grants up to $7,500 to businesses in industries that have been greatly affected by COVID-19. Small business owners that have lost the ability to operate (including restaurants, retail shops, nail salons, and barbershops) are eligible to apply in order to receive assistance with rent, utilities, etc. Read more here.
  • Hospitality Emergency Loan Program: No-interest loans of up to $10,000 per business per month to help restaurants, bars, and other hospitality businesses cover rent, utilities, and other unavoidable bills (not personnel costs). Read more here.
  • Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program: Up to $50 million has been allocated for a program in which small business owners with two to 100 employees can apply for short-term loans up to $50,000. The loans are interest-free for up to one year and are designed to bridge the gap to either federal SBA loans or commercially available loans. Read more here and apply.
  • Atlanta Fund to Assist Those Affected by COVID-19: A $7 million coronavirus emergency fund that will allocate $1.5 million to small businesses. Read more here.
  • Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund: Provides small businesses with emergency cash flow through low-interest loans of up to $50,000, with repayment terms of up to 5 years. Read more here and apply here.
  • MHK Together: 502 and Greater Manhattan Community Foundation have formed a “buy one, give one” community relief program. Register your company so consumers can easily buy gift cards to your business. Read more here.
  • New Orleans Gig Economy Relief Fund: The New Orleans Business Alliance is committing $100,00 to initiate a fund for the gig economy workers who have been directly impacted via loss of income. Read more here.
  • COVID-19 Emergency Relief Loan Fund: A $75 million fund offering working capital to for-profit small businesses in Maryland whose operations have been affected by COVID-19. The loans are available up to $50,000 at 0 percent interest for 12 months (2 percent interest for the remaining 36) for businesses with 50 employees or less. Read more here.
  • COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant Fund: A $50 million grant fund for small businesses and nonprofits in Maryland. Grants offered will scale up to $10,000 and are available for businesses with 50 employees or less. Read more here.
  • Small Business Recovery Loan Fund: A $10 million relief fund for Massachusetts businesses affected by the coronavirus. Eligible companies with fewer than 50 employees can apply for immediate fund of up to $75,000. Read more here.
  • Michigan Small Business Relief Program: Provides up to $20 million in support of small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19. Grants will be available up to $10,000 and loans will be available from $50,000 to $200,000 at interest rates of 0.25%. Will be available no later than April 1, 2020. Read more here.
  • Minnesota Small Business Emergency Loans: The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) are loaning small, Minnesota-based businesses $2,500 to $35,000 loans, based on the the firm’s financial injury. Read more here.
  • The Gateway Resilience Fund: A fund that will support owners of independent bars, restaurants, and shops in St. Louis that have been affected by COVID-19. Read more here.
  • Small Business Resource Loan Program: Eligible small businesses located in the city and county of St. Louis can apply for 0 percent interest loans of up to $5,000 for working capital. Read more here.
  • Omaha COVID-19 Response Fund: A fund that will provide flexible resources to organizations and local nonprofits working with communities who are disproportionately impacted by coronavirus and the economic consequences of this outbreak. Read more here.
New Mexico
  • COVID-19 Business Loan Guarantee Program: Will guarantee a portion of a loan or line of credit up to 80 percent of principal, or $50,000 to small businesses seeking emergency loans or lines of credit. Read more here
New Jersey
  • Micro Business Loan Program: For-profit businesses in New Jersey that have an annual revenue of no more than $1.5M and with less than 10 employees are eligible to apply for loans up to $50,000. Read more here.
New York
  • NYC Small Business Continuity Loan Fund: Businesses with fewer than 100 employees that have seen a sales decrease of 25 percent can apply for zero-interest loans of up to $75,000. Read more here and apply here.
  • NYC Employee Retention Grant Program: Small businesses with fewer than 5 employees can apply for a grant to cover 40 percent of payroll costs for two months to help retain employees. Read more here and apply here.
  • Syracuse COVID-19 Emergency Relief Program: 0 percent interest, 180-day emergency loans at an average value of $10,000 will be available for small businesses in the city of Syracuse. Read more here.
  • Jade District-Oldtown COVID-19 Small Business Response Fund: Due to fear and xenophobia, many small businesses in Portland’s Jade District have been experiencing a dramatic downturn in business. Up to $190,000 in grants will be available for disbursement, with a priority on Asian and Pacific Islander-owned businesses. Read more here.
  • Hillsboro Small Business Emergency Relief Fund: The city of Hillsboro is developing an emergency loan for small and medium sized businesses. Read more here.
  • Philadelphia COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund: Grants and zero-interest loans are now available to small businesses in Philadelphia that have been affected by COVID-19. Read more here.
  • Salt Lake City’s Emergency Loan Program: Business owners within Salt Lake City Limits can apply for zero-interest loans of up to $20,000. Read more here.
  • Seattle Business Stabilization Fund: A $1.5 million grant program giving up to $10,000 to small businesses. The city has also deferred tax payments for business-owner candidates and will set up a small-business recovery task force. Read more here.
  • Amazon Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund: Amazon has created a $5 million fund that will provide cash grants to local Seattle small businesses.  Read more here and apply here.
  • Seattle Arts Recovery Package: A $1.1 million fund to invest directly in creative workers, and arts and cultural organizations financially impacted by COVID-19. Read more here.
  • Small Business 20/20: A $5 million grant program that will give companies with fewer than 20 employees up to $20,000. Read more here.