COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Applications for the second round of paycheck protection program loans are now open.
The Columbus Urban League is working to ensure that the black companies are not excluded from the process this time.
Last year’s first round of credit was criticized by some of the big names and chains that qualified, while some small businesses didn’t get a penny.
The new round includes rules that focus on companies with fewer than 300 employees, and banks are working to get black companies in their queue.
Stephanie Hightower, president of the Columbus Urban League, said black companies have historically faced heightened scrutiny from the banking industry.
She hopes working with them on PPP loans is only one way to bridge this gap.
“We’re working with the financial institutions to find out how we can level the playing field,” said Hightower. “How do we bring people who look like us to us and have the critical conversations needed to drill down and help people feel comfortable at these financial institutions.”
Hightower said the Urban League’s work doesn’t stop at loans. The organization also supports these companies in creating multi-year plans so that they can survive for decades.