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Support available locally for businesses grappling with federal loan process

Staff Report • May 11, 2020 at 7:00 PM

KINGSPORT — Navigating the application process, rules and regulations of recent federal business relief loans can be daunting. There are local resources for help, and a new website that debuted today will point visitors to the best of those resources.

Tri-Cities Business Support — tricitiessupport.com — will serve two purposes.

First, it will be a clearinghouse for information regarding Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and connections and links to a host of information where you can find help and answers to questions regarding these programs.

Second, the website hosts a survey designed to gather information from around the Tri-Cities regarding the local distribution of EIDL and PPP loans. The survey asks about 12 questions ranging from “Did you apply for a PPP loan?” to “If there is another round of relief assistance, will you apply?”

If a respondent indicates they did apply earlier, a follow-up question will ask if the application was successful, then ask the loan amount.

It is critical to note that survey information is for survey purposes only and will not be distributed or shared.

It takes only about six to seven minutes to complete the survey.

“We’re looking to see aggregate numbers and the financial impact these programs are having on our communities,” said Clay Walker, CEO of NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership and the primary push behind Tri-Cities Business Support. “And we want to make sure our local businesses have the information they need to be a part of these programs if they need help.”

NETWORKS, NETREP and the Chambers of Commerce in Kingsport, Johnson City and Bristol are collaborating on the project, providing support and resources to businesses needing assistance.

“We have some great initiatives — Region AHEAD as one example — to lend local financial help,” Walker said.

“We wanted to add another dimension of assistance by helping our local businesspeople navigate the federal loan programs that can, at times, be intimidating.”

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