Small business owners hopeful as sign-ups for new round of PPP starts Wednesday

Raven Brown
Updated: February 24, 2021 05:18 AM
Created: February 23, 2021 08:06 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The Biden administration announced several changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Monday, including a two-week application period that starts Wednesday for businesses with fewer than 20 employees and carving out $1 billion directly towards sole proprietors, such as home contractors and salon workers.

"I’ve applied for the PPP program in the past, and I have not qualified because of the type of business that I run, somewhat being considered like a sole proprietor if you will, with the barbershop,” Rochester City Council Vice President and barbershop owner Willie Lightfoot said. 

When it comes to small businesses trying to survive the pandemic, every penny counts. 

"A lot of the barbershops and salons probably didn't qualify for the traditional PPP program,” Lightfoot said. 

He said he has four employees at the shop and hopes they can get their chance to apply. 

"I guess, you know, I’m going to give it a shot and reapply and see what kind of assistance we may receive,” Lightfoot said. 

Along with the two weeks, self-employed and independent contractors can now qualify for more and business owners with non-fraud-related criminal records and student loan defaults will now be eligible.

"The first time around when we were applying for PPP there was obviously a lot of confusion,” Peppermint Boutique owner Tanvi Asher said. “We had a lot of anxiety because a lot of people were applying for it.”

Asher has only 12 employees.

"I consider myself a micro-business, not just a small business because anything 100 or under is considered small, and you know, we're only a staff of 12, but we do the volume that a business that's slightly bigger than us, does,” Asher said. 

Asher said they recently applied for the program, and the bank accepted the application.

"This time around, they asked us for a lot of our bank statements you know show your losses, show us exactly what you need, and the process was a little bit lengthier, but it was a little bit more structured,” Asher said. 

Both Lightfoot and Asher said they are happy with the changes as the goal is to get everyone more support.

“Opening up the playing field, so we can even get in the game and take advantage of things that, oftentimes, big businesses often always have the advantage,” Lightfoot said.

The 14-day period starts Wednesday, Feb. 24. Click here for more information on the Small Business Association. 

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