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CHAMPAIGN – The U.S. Small Business Administration resumed accepting applications to its Paycheck Protection Program last week, and State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is encouraging small business owners to contact participating lenders to apply.

“Small businesses are the foundation of our communities,” Bennett said. “Small businesses that have been hurt or impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic should take advantage as soon as possible.”

The Small Business Administration has extended the application deadline to allow more businesses to apply for a portion of $10 million in aid. Funding will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis and may be used to keep people on the payroll and pay overhead expenses. The new deadline to apply for a PPP loan is Aug. 8.

Businesses that need help with the application process can contact the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County Economic Development Corporation, which assists entrepreneurs and companies by providing free and confidential business guidance, training and other resources.

More than 27,000 Illinois businesses have already taken advantage of the loans – saving an estimated 1.36 million jobs – according to the Small Business Administration.

PPP loans have an interest rate of 1% and can be fully forgiven if they are used for eligible costs, including payroll, rent, utilities or interest on mortgages. To find participating lenders, business owners and managers can visit the Small Business Administration’s website here.

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