COVID-19 Loan FAQ - Rhode Island Commerce

SBA loans and non-SBA loan information

Información en espanol

On Tuesday, February 16, Rhode Island Commerce hosted a Facebook Live discussion with Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor and our technical assistance partners to further explain the PPP and answer your questions. You can watch a replay of the video here.


PPP Information

PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) - Now Open!

On Monday, February 22, updates to the PPP were announced. Click here for more information.

The PPP program provides forgivable loans at 1% interest, up to $10 million, through SBA approved lenders to help small businesses bring their employees back on the payroll & cover qualified business expenses for 8 weeks during the COVID19 pandemic.

The  SBA application portal is now open to all participating PPP lenders. You can search eligible lenders here or by referencing the local list below.

Participating Local Lenders (Note: this list will be updated frequently)

Download a printable version of the following FAQ here. Translated text of this content is available in ChineseFrenchPortuguese and Spanish.

Need Assistance Applying for PPP?

Technical Assistance Partners

Commerce and our partners stand ready to assist. If you have questions about PPP, please fill out the form here.


The Center for Southeast Asians will assist small businesses owned by Asians and other immigrants attain access to the current round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) by providing training to navigate electronic applications and compliance documents as well as providing assistance in completing the application. Language assistance is available in multiple languages.
Contact: Channavy Chhay –

Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will assist Latino companies in Pawtucket, Central Falls, Providence, Warwick and Cranston attain access to the current round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) by providing one-on-one training on how to navigate electronic applications and compliance documents, as well as providing assistance in completing the application. Bi-lingual (English – Spanish) assistance is available.
Contacts: RIHCC office – (401) 400 1340,
Ana Cabrera – (401) 400-1251, 
Luz Pagan – (401) 400-1397,

Multicultural Innovation Center will work with Covid-19 impacted business to attain access to the current round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) by providing one on one training on how to navigate electronic applications and compliance documents as well as providing assistance in completing the application.
Contact: Maryann Mathews – (401) 757-0055,

Rhode Island Society of Certified Public Accountants will provide customized on-line training programs and one-on-one consultations for businesses seeking guidance on a wide range of questions regarding the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).  Some sessions will be conducted in Spanish.
Contact: Melissa Travis, Maggie Lague  –  (401) 331-5720,

RI SCORE: Provides free, confidential counseling to small businesses as a volunteer organization of working and retired business owners, professionals, and executives with experience in all aspects of business management. Areas of exertise include technical questions, business entity questions, and one-on-one support.
Contact: Schedule a mentor request

RI Small Business Development Center (SBDC): Provides RI small business owners with the services and expertise. Services include no-cost expert counseling, relevant training, and access to important resources. Areas of expertise include technical and financial questions, business entity questions, business continuity evaluation and planning, and one-on-one support
Contact: Register for counseling here.

FAQs for PPP

Is my business eligible?

  • All businesses — including nonprofits, veterans’ organizations, sole proprietorships, self-employed individuals, and independent contractors – with 500 or fewer employees. Businesses with 300 or fewer employees are eligible for second draw PPP loans. 
  • Business must have been impacted as a result of COVID 19 pandemic
  • Business and employees must be based in the United States of America

What expenses will the loan cover?

Payroll costs

  • Salary, wages, commissions and tips (capped at $100k/year/employee)
    • Note: Payroll for employees who earn tips can be based on employee records of past tips or in the absence of such records, a reasonable, good-faith employer estimate of such tips
    • Note: Payroll for independent contractors or sole proprietors can include wage, commissions, income, net earnings or similar compensation
  • Most benefits including costs for vacation, parental, family, medical or sick leave; payments required for the provisions of group health care benefits including insurance premiums; payment of any retirement benefit; payment of state and local taxes assessed on compensation of employees

Business costs

  • Mortgage interest payments (NOT mortgage prepayments or principal payments), rent payments and utility payments
    • Note: All service contracts and/or lease/debt agreements must have been in place prior to February 15, 2020

Refinancing an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)

  • If you received an EIDL loan from January 31, 2020- April 3, 2020, you can refinance it using a PPP loan
    • Note: If your EIDL loan was used for payroll costs, your PPP loan must be used to refinance your EIDL loan
  • Proceeds from any advance up to $10,000 on the EIDL loan will be deducted from the loan forgiveness amount on the PPP loan

Will this loan be forgiven?

Borrowers will be eligible for loan forgiveness equal to the amount that the borrower spent on qualified expenses during the 8-week period which begins the day the funds are deposited into the business’s account, assuming adequate records are kept. At least 75% of the total loan amount must be spent on payroll costs for employees. Employee count must match or exceed the number of employees used when submitting your application.

The amount of the loan that will be forgiven will be reduced proportionally if the following are not met:

  • A business fails to spend at least 75% of the loan amount on payroll
  • A business fails to pay at least the same number of employees used on the application
  • A business cuts wages in excess of 25% for any employees

How to calculate your maximum loan amount:

  • Step 1: Calculate your total payroll costs using information from 2019 for employees whose principal place of residence is the United States.
    • Note: Time frames may differ for seasonal businesses.
  • Step 2: Any employee making $100,000 or more a year is capped at $100,000 Subtract any compensation paid to an employee in excess of annual salary of $100,000.
  • Step 3: Calculate average monthly payroll costs (divide the amount from Step 2 by 12).
  • Step 4: Multiply the average monthly payroll costs from Step 3 by 2.5.
  • Step 5: Add the outstanding amount of an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) made between January 31, 2020 and April 3, 2020, and subtract the amount of any “advance” under an EIDL COVID-19 loan (because it does not have to be repaid).The result of Steps 1-5 is the maximum loan amount for which you will be eligible.

How do I apply?

PPP loans are secured through a local bank, credit union or other lender. Gather the documentation listed below and contact a participating local lender to submit your application. You will improve your chances for receiving a loan under this program if you have a complete application before contacting the lender. For a complete application, you will need:

  • A completed Paycheck Protection Program Borrower Application Form, found on the US Department of the Treasury’s website:
  • Your business launch date, amount of annual sales/revenue and mailing address
    • Documentation may include your company’s articles of incorporation, EIN/TIN, copies of your tax returns, etc.
  • 2019 IRS Quarterly 940, 941 or 944 payroll tax reports
  • Payroll reports for a 12-month period (ending on the most recent payroll date)
    • Documentation may include receipts/reports from your payroll company, W3 from a previous tax year, bank account statements.
    • Note: Independent contractors can submit 1099s for 2019.
  • Total health insurance premiums paid by the company owner(s) under a group health plan (including all employees and the company owners)
  • Documentation may include copies of invoices and/or payments made to insurance companies.
  • Sum of all retirement plan funding that was paid by the company owner(s), including 401K plans, Simple IRAs and SEP IRAs for all employees and owners
    • Documentation may include copies of invoices and/or payments made to retirement plan facilitators

For more information on the Paycheck Protection Program, visit

Click here to apply for PPP.


SBA Stimulus Update Webinar

Rhode Island Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor took questions and went over the Paycheck Protection Program the Rhode Island Small Business Administration (SBA) and Rhode Island Small Business Development Center. Watch the webinar here.


Additional Support

Enhanced Capital Rhode Island Fund - Small Business Loan Now Open

Enhanced Capital Rhode Island Fund (“ECRIF”) has received certification to participate in the Rhode Island Small Business Development Fund Program administered by the Rhode Island Commerce.

Click here to apply and learn more.

The Rhode Island Small Business Development Fund Program is a loan program that aims to provide financial assistance to small businesses to retain and create jobs in the state. The program’s primary focus is to provide financial assistance to businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

ECRIF is a $20 million fund in formation that plans to provide loans to eligible Rhode Island-based small businesses in following two categories:

  • Micro Loans of $10,000 to $50,000 per company
  • Larger Term Loans of up to $1 million per company

At least $15 million of loans will be provided to “COVID Impacted Businesses” defined as  Rhode Island based businesses with a  33% revenue loss for the period January 2020 through May 2020 over the same period for the prior year, or such other businesses as may be approved by the Corporation, in its discretion, upon request from the Company.

Click here to apply and learn more.

EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loan) - REOPENED FOR APPLICATIONS

The SBA’s COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) is another way to get funding for your business during this crisis. This loan provides up to $2 million at 3.75%, for up to 30-year terms. 

Click here to apply, and be prepared to provide:

  • SSN/EIN Number
  • Gross revenue for 2018 or 2019 (from tax returns)
  • Cost of goods sold for 2018 or 2019 (from tax returns)
  • Date business was established or owned
  • Number of employees (1099 contractors excluded from employee count)
  • Bank name
  • Account number
  • Routing number
STEP (State Trade Expansion Program)

If you are a small business and an exporter, the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP)  grant can provide you with funding to increase exports. As part of the CARES Act, the SBA has increased the maximum STEP grant reimbursement to eligible small businesses for website development and for design of marketing materials from $3,000 to $6,000. (Reimbursement is based on 50%-75% of the total cost, up to a maximum of $6,000.)

With grant funding, administered by the John H. Chafee Center for International Business at Bryant University with support from Rhode Island Commerce, companies can engage with outside consultants and firms to help develop marketing strategies and materials for international customers. You can review the program guidelines for other ideas of ways to use STEP funding here.

For more information and to enroll in STEP, contact, Linda Woulfe, STEP Program Director, at 401-232-6525 or at



Where else can I get help?

The Rhode Island Small Business Development Center is available to answer additional questions you may have about SBA loans at no cost. You can register for free, confidential business advice here.

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