SBA to expand emergency loan program for struggling businesses

Business News

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A loan program to help small businesses seriously impacted by the pandemic is set to expand next week.

Restaurant owner Gregg Davenport tells 12 News the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) was a big reason his business was able to survive. He compared owning a restaurant in 2020 to riding a roller coaster.

“One day you’re closed, then the day before during the summer you’re open, and before you know it, you’re getting closed down again,” he recalled.

Davenport’s has two locations, in East Providence and Cumberland, and the owner said the EIDL has helped him stay afloat.

“The landlords still wanted to get paid, the vendors had to get paid,some of the employees had to get paid, so we had to use part of this money for the day-to-day operations,” Davenport explained.

Mark Hayward, the Rhode Island district director for the Small Business Administration, said as of mid-February, 10,857 of those loans totaling just under $580 million had been distributed to businesses across the state.

“The EIDL loan gives them an opportunity to plan for the future,” he said, adding that next week, the SBA is raising the loan limit and extending the due date for the first payment.

“When they got the original loan, it was a six-month ‘look at,’ now it’s up to 24 months so they can go up to $500,000,” Hayward added.

It’s a total of 24 months from when the business received the loan, according to Hayward, and the loan amount varies on several factors.

“Eligibility is going to be based upon cost of goods sold versus what your actual revenues are,” he explained. “Then it’s going to do a calculation asking for certain information.”

Unlike the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Hayward said the EIDL is a loan that will need to be paid back over an extended period of time.

“It’s a 20- to 30-year loan. It gives people the ability to move things around,” Hayward said. 

Davenport said he’s unsure if he’ll apply for a loan increase.

“We don’t really know what the future’s going to be over the next month, month and a half,” he said. “If they can keep getting the vaccine out to people, you know, people becoming more comfortable coming in to dining, I think at this point we might be OK.” 

Hayward said the SBA will be contacting businesses about the increase. If you have a question, you can reach out to the Small Business Administration by calling (401) 528-4561 or emailing

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