Jack Spirakes, Public Information Officer
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recently announced the closure of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF). Through the American Rescue Plan Act, the SBA launched the RRF to provide funding to help restaurants and other eligible businesses keep their doors open. The SBA received over 370,000 applications from restaurant owners across the United States.
The program provided a total of $28.6 billion in critical funding to over 105,000 restaurants. As part of this effort, the Restaurant Revitalization Fund supported 3,777 small restaurants with gross receipts of less than $50,000 in 2019.
Due to overwhelming demand, and given the original appropriation provided in the American Rescue Plan Act, the SBA was unable to fund all qualified applications. Applicants who have not received funding will have their applications held in the order received within the RRF application platform to allow for processing if additional funds are made available by Congress.
The Restaurant Revitalization Fund application platform will remain open until mid-July to allow applicants to check their status, address payment corrections, and/or ask questions. The SBA will disable access to the platform on July 14, 2021.
Existing program information can be found at https://www.sba.gov/rrf.
By: Jack Spirakes, Public Information Officer
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
Washington Metropolitan Area District Office
On May 25, 2021, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a temporary final rule making available an additional 22,000 H-2B temporary nonagricultural guest worker visas for fiscal year 2021 to employers who are likely to suffer irreparable harm without these additional workers.
While 16,000 of the additional visas are limited to returning workers, 6,000 visas have been reserved for nationals of the Northern Triangle countries (Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala), regardless of whether those nationals are returning workers. The supplemental visas support President Biden’s vision of expanding lawful pathways for protection and opportunity for individuals from the Northern Triangle and address the needs of U.S. employers at risk of permanent and severe financial loss.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) strongly encourages qualified U.S. employers to consider this supplemental H-2B allocation reserved for nationals of the Northern Triangle in filling positions for which they cannot find qualified and available U.S. workers. If fewer than 6,000 beneficiaries are requested toward the visas set aside for nationals of the Northern Triangle countries, USCIS will announce on its website by July 23 that the unused Northern Triangle country visas will be made available to employers regardless of the beneficiary’s country of nationality, subject to the returning worker requirement.
The H-2B nonimmigrant classification applies to noncitizen workers seeking to perform nonagricultural labor or services in the United States on a temporary basis, usually lasting no longer than one year (unless the employer’s need is a one-time event that could last up to three years), for which U.S. workers are not available.
For more information please visit the USCIS website.
The Coronavirus is here and its global outbreak requires being proactive when implementing strategies to protect our workforce while ensuring continuity of operations.
Mayor Muriel Bowser has declared both a state of emergency and a public health emergency, effective immediately. The DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) will activate the District’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and Joint Information Center (JIC) to provide additional coordination for the District’s COVID-19 response.
DC Health recommended that non-essential mass gatherings, including conferences and conventions, be postponed or cancelled through March 31.
As more individuals become affected in our market and around the country it is important to learn how we can all help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 and minimize its long term impact.
Employers should be ready to implement strategies to protect their workforce from the Coronavirus while ensuring continuity of operations.
It is also important to follow preparedness guidelines set forward by Federal, State, and Local agencies to help protect your staff and customers from all potential illnesses.
For the business community, DC Health and the business-wing of HSEMA have put together toolkits and informational resources at coronavirus.dc.gov that can be used for guidance.
By: Idaliz Ortiz
Having a presence on the web is vital in today's world. With the right knowledge, it can be a cost-effective way to grow your business.
In this workshop series, brought to you by the GWHCC Foundation’s SBTA program, attendees will learn the nuances of having an online presence and continue to thrive through this unprecedented time, in the midst of COVID-19.
The first topic, Branding, covers the importance of having a Business Name, Logo and Brand Identity as you kick-off your endeavor.
By: Idaliz Ortiz -Director of Marketing and Communications
D.C. has joined Virginia and Maryland in closing nonessential businesses to help control the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in the DMV. This includes a variety of businesses, such as coffee shops, restaurants and many retail stores.
The order goes into effect today Wednesday, March 25, at 10 p.m. through April 24.
"The intent of the order is to temporarily cease all nonessential business activities, including tour guides and touring services; gyms, health clubs, spas, and massage establishments; theaters, auditoriums, and other places of large gatherings; nightclubs; hair, nail, and tanning salons and barbershops; tattoo parlors; sales not involved in essential services; retail clothing stores; and professional services not devoted to assisting essential business operations," D.C. government officials indicated in its executive order.
To see more on the executive order, check here.
However, it isn’t always obvious what businesses are considered essential.
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus was first identified in Wuhan, China and reported by the World Health Organization on December 31. It has infected hundreds of Chinese citizens with pneumonia-like symptoms and has now spread across international boundaries.
Because of this it is important for all employers to monitor the Coronavirus outbreak and implement strategies to protect their workforce while ensuring continuity of their business operations.
Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. Here are links to a variety of resources provided by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help educate employers and employees on how to prepare for and address the impacts of the Coronavirus.
View the Mayor's Order here.
For the most up-to-date information on the Coronavirus in the DMV region, please visit the DC Coronavirus website at coronavirus.dc.gov/ and/or CDC.gov/Coronavirus.
By: Idaliz Ortiz
In September 1968, Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim National Hispanic Heritage Week to recognize the rich culture and contributions of Americans who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico, Central America, South America and Spanish-speaking nations of the Caribbean.
Just two decades later, lawmakers expanded the observance to a month-long celebration, stretching from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.
Hispanic Heritage Month – like its shorter precursor – always starts on Sept. 15, a historically significant day that marks the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.
By: Maria Asuelimen
A lot of businesses want to sell their services/products to the U.S. Federal Government. Why not? After all, the federal government is the largest customer you can have the world!
Some people tend to believe that you can become rich quickly by becoming a federal contractor. That’s not exactly correct. There’s more to federal contracting than most people realize.
Federal contracting is not for the faint of heart. It is not a get rich quick scheme.
By: Dina Potter
HR 4 Small Biz firstname.lastname@example.org
As entrepreneurs, we hit the ground running every single day and often find there isn’t enough time to do EVERYTHING we want to do. It’s easy to take for granted those who are in the trenches with us throughout the year. So, as Thanksgiving draws near, I encourage you to take some time to reflect on how your staff is driving the growth and success of your business and ask yourself: When was the last time you took the time to say thank you in a way that really showed how much you appreciate your team members’ contributions?
Social media can have a big impact on small businesses. Unfortunately, it’s not just about publishing a few posts and nice graphics. To really stand-out on a small business budget, your business has to understand its target customer, build great content and take a bit of a guerilla marketing approach to build experiences and programs that foster community and credibility.
Here is what I have seen work in my own business and also via the research I do monitoring social media and mobile marketing trends. Below is a high-level summary of my recent Business Bites 2.0: Marketing On A Shoestring session. The session was put together by the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Rhode Island Avenue Main Street to help DC small businesses to leverage social media to grow their businesses.
Idaliz Ortiz is a Puerto Rican former multimedia journalist. She received a GLAAD award in 2017 for Spanish Programing - Special Feature, and was twice nominated for a Capital Emmy Award. She is currently the GWHCC Director of Marketing and Communications. Feel free to email her at email@example.com