ATLANTA — While metro Atlanta small business owners struggle to hold out until they can open their doors, many anxiously await federal monies they desperately need to meet existing payrolls and rent.
This came after a federal loan fund designated to help small businesses ran out of money just a few days after it took effect.
Indoor Billboard Network is a small, locally-owned Atlanta company that provides more than 120 area businesses with big-screen advertising and branding.
Indoor's president, Ed Ukaonu applied for a $200,000 federally-backed SBA loan, but he did not get it. He said that he was not told why.
Now, he's going to try again.
"Our business is pretty much shut down," he said. "We are doing our best to keep our employees engaged and help them out the best we can, but right now, we are not able to do much until we get this loan."
Ukaonu is not the only small business feeling the financial squeeze.
The president of minority-owned Unity National Bank, George Andrews, says he has more than 100 applications, ready to be processed immediately.
"They represent everything from your local grocery store to your local gas and convenience station to your local funeral home to your florist -- you name it," Andrews said.
He says his bank is just waiting for the go-ahead to process the applications.
"We are ready with our guns loaded and the trigger cocked," Andrews said with enthusiasm.
To stay afloat and keep his clients until he hopefully gets the SBA loa, Ukaonu is giving away his services.
"We do a lot with the restaurant community -- some of them, now with delivery and pickups, and as we are able to create and do things for them that they can put on social media to drive people to support them," Okaonu said. "We are doing all of that pro bono right now."
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What Andrews fears most right now is that that if SBA monies do not reach the small business owners quickly, hundreds of mom-and-pops will simply go out of business, and that could radically change the entire makeup of local metro Atlanta communities.
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