PPP demand slows as new event business, restaurant grant programs prepare to open

PROVIDENCE – Demand for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program continues to slow, across the country and in Rhode Island, according to the latest SBA data published on Tuesday.

Between April 11 and 18, just over 600 Rhode Island businesses, nonprofits and other eligible entities were approved for a combined $19 million in forgivable payroll loans. This is on-par with the previous seven-day period, but significantly below the numbers from prior weeks.

In total, more than 13,628 Rhode Island entities have been approved for $922.8 million under the second round of the program which began in January. Nationwide, the program has doled out more than $240.2 billion across 4.7 million loans, with an average loan size of $51,000.

The slowdown in new approvals comes as the SBA prepares to launch two new grant programs for specific industries: the $16 billion Shuttered Venue Operators Grant is slated to start taking applications this week after a botched rollout attempt earlier this month, while details were recently shared on the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund program, although a start date has not been set, various news outlets have reported.

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Eligible applicants still have until May 31 to apply for PPP money thanks to a two-month extension approved by Congress. About $44 billion of the original $284 billion allocation remains, not including the $7 billion tacked on in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

How much the second-round, amended program has helped hard-hit women and minority-owned businesses secure funding remains unclear. A majority of recipients still do not identify their race or ethnicity.

Demographic and industry data was not available by state.

Nancy Lavin is a PBN staff writer. You may reach her at Lavin@PBN.com.

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