Through a partnership with the United States Small Business Association (SBA) and the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, the University of Connecticut is helping to fund nearly 350,000 small businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The trio helps to fund the Connecticut Small Business Development Center (CTSBDC), which “provides no-cost, confidential business advising services to small business owners and entrepreneurs in every stage of business development,” UConn School of Business advisor Greg Lewis said in a recent press release.
“I’ve been spending a lot of time just introducing people to the SBDC and then helping them figure out exactly what their particular business needs might be and which programs are appropriate for them,” Lewis said.
According to the CTSBDC website, the paycheck protection program through the SBA will give qualifying small businesses a loan up to $10 million to ensure employees are kept on payroll and other essential expenses are paid during the pandemic, one of the most attractive options available to small businesses struggling during this time.
According to the press release, over 300,000 people have filed for unemployment in Connecticut, largely in part because of the virus and increased furloughs at small businesses.
Aside from small business relief, UConn students are directly impacting local citizens through the UConn Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program.
Supervised by a certified public accountant (CPA), students involved in the program do the taxes of those in the community for free.
VITA supervisor and instructor Leanne Adams, an instructor-in-residence at the UConn School of Business, said the program served 168 clients before April 15, the original tax deadline. Since it has been postponed due to the outbreak, “We might start up again once the semester is over,” Adams said. “Many students have expressed an interest in continuing on a volunteer basis.”
Neither Adams or the CTSBDC expect things to slow down as nonessential businesses in the state remain closed until at least May 20, per an executive order by Gov. Ned Lamont.
Luke Hajdasz is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.