While the loan and relief programs under the CARES Act are extensive, there are three programs that small businesses can access now—the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and Express Loan program and the State of Minnesota’s Small Business Emergency Loan Program.


This program offers up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

The loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for non-profits.

The loans are available with long-term repayment schedules in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. The terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.

Application for a loan is made through the SBA’s website


The SBA also offers Express Bridge Loans–express-bridge-loan-pilot-program-guide to small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 with less paperwork. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. They can also be used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan. Small businesses with an urgent need for cash while waiting for decision and disbursement on Economic Injury Disaster Loan may qualify for an SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan. The terms are:

  • Up to $25,000
  • Fast turnaround
  • Will be repaid in full or in part by proceeds from the Economic Injury Disaster Loan

Eligible small businesses must have been operational when the COVID-19 disaster declaration was made by Governor Walz on March 21, 2020 and must meet all other SBA Section 7(a) loan eligibility requirements.

Please check with your lender to see if your business may qualify for an Express Bridge Loan. The SBA’s online lender referral tool is available here:


While a lot of attention is rightfully being given to the CARES Act passed by Congress on March 27, 2020, Minnesota has its own emergency loan program available. The Small Business Emergency Loan Program, administered through the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), provides zero interest loans ranging from $2,500 to $30,000 to eligible businesses. The term of the loan is five years with no payments for the first six months. Under certain circumstances, the loans may be partially forgiven. The following small business are eligible to apply:

  • Restaurants, food courts, cafes, coffeehouses, and other places of public accommodation offering food or beverage for on-premises consumption, excluding institutional or in-house food cafeterias that serve residents, employees, and clients of businesses, child care facilities, hospitals, and long-term care facilities.
  • Bars, taverns, brew pubs, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, tasting rooms, clubs, and other places of public accommodation offering alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption.
  • Hookah bars, cigar bars, and vaping lounges offering their products for on-premises consumption.
  • Theaters, cinemas, indoor and outdoor performance venues, and museums.
  • Gymnasiums, fitness centers, recreation centers, indoor sports facilities, indoor exercise facilities, exercise studios, and spas tanning establishments, body art establishments, tattoo parlors, piercing parlors, businesses offering massage therapy or similar body work, spas, salons, nail salons, cosmetology salons, esthetician salons, advanced practice esthetician salons, eyelash salons, and barber shops. This includes, but is not limited to, all salons and shops licensed by the Minnesota Board of Cosmetologist Examiners and the Minnesota Board of Barber Examiners.
  • Amusement parks, arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, indoor climbing facilities, skating rinks, trampoline parks, and other similar recreational or entertainment facilities.
  • Country clubs, golf clubs, boating or yacht clubs, sports or athletic clubs, and dining clubs.

To qualify, the eligible businesses must:

  • Be current on financial obligations as of March 1, 2020
  • Be an existing small business (the form of organization does not matter)
  • Have been operating in Minnesota for at least one year
  • Be willing to provide collateral or personal guarantee for at least 20% of loan
  • Be unable to qualify for a standard loan through a bank, credit union, or nonprofit lending organization
  • Pay-off the emergency loan if financing is received subsequent to loan approval.

The loans cannot be provided to businesses that:

  • Derive income from passive investments without operational ties to operating businesses
  • Primarily generate income from gambling activities
  • Generates any part of its income from adult-oriented activities
  • Have no current or historical financial statements

The application and list of non-profit lenders who can make the loans are available on the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development website

If you have any questions whether your business may qualify for any of these programs or for any of the programs under the CARES Act, please contact one of us.