Support for Startups During COVID-19
Updated September 18, 2020
The Center for Regional Economic Advancement (CREA) is committed to helping startups grow and thrive, especially during challenging economic times.
Our experienced staff is personally evaluating available resources and opportunities to support startups through the COVID-19 crisis. We will continue to publish and update this list as the business climate evolves and more resources are made available.
You can suggest additional resources and opportunities by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support for New York State and Southern Tier Regional Startups:
New York Forward: Reopening in Phases
Phase One, Two, Three, and Four Guidance for New York State
Reopening of businesses will begin in phases, by regions and industries. Please refer to the phase guidelines below for more information on summary guidelines, detailed guidelines, and business safety plan templates.
- COVID-19 and Reactivation Planning: Cornell University has announced plans for the fall semester, which includes a hybrid approach to a residential semester (with in-person, online and hybrid teaching modalities), robust virus testing, and modifications to the academic calendar that will allow students to begin classes on Sept. 2 and return home for Thanksgiving and finish the semester remotely. Learn more about how this applies to students, staff, and faculty.
- COVID-19 Training for Food Processing Facilities: Cornell University is providing free 10-minute training videos for food processing employees. This training is available in both English and Spanish and covers background information about the virus causing COVID-19 as well as prevention and control strategies to mitigate the spread of the virus. Participants who watch the video and complete a knowledge-check will receive an email of completion that can be utilized as a training record.
- ILR School – Work and the Coronavirus: Cornell’s ILR (Industrial and Labor Relations) School aims to help make sense of how the coronavirus pandemic is changing the workplace – from employment and legal policy, to labor relations and HR policies and practices. This page features data, analysis, research and insight from ILR School faculty members and experts.
- JumpStart Program: Partners NYS small businesses and startups that have well-defined technical problems with Cornell materials scientists, faculty and staff, who have the expertise to help solve these problems. Since 2005, 106 NYS businesses have benefited from this program. To help further small businesses, the companies’ cash contributions have been decreased by half for Fall 2020 projects. Each project lasts for one semester and has a $15,000 value. This fall, the projects will receive 50% of CCMR/NYSTAR funding ($7,500). Companies’ contributions will amount to 17% in cash ($2,500) and 33% in-kind ($5,000). Stay tuned for applications reopening for the Fall.
Empire State Development
- Empire State Development: “Novel Coronavirus FAQ for Businesses”: Empire State Development (ESD) has created this FAQ to offer information to businesses regarding State regulations and general guidance related to the coronavirus. If your question is not answered, please contact ESD.
- ESD Guidance on “Essential Services” During COVID-19
- Industries Reopening by Phase: Businesses in each region will re-open in phases. Re-opening refers to non-essential businesses and business activities. Essential businesses and business activities that are open will remain open. These guidelines apply to both non-essential businesses in regions that are permitted to re-open and essential businesses throughout the state that were previously permitted to remain open.
- New York Forward Loan Fund: New York Forward Loan Fund (NYFLF) is a new economic recovery loan program aimed at supporting New York State small businesses, nonprofits and small landlords as they reopen after the COVID-19 outbreak and NYS on PAUSE. NYFLF targets the state’s small businesses with 20 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employees (90% of all businesses), nonprofits and small landlords that have seen a loss of rental income. NYFLF is providing working capital loans so that small businesses, nonprofits and small landlords have access to credit as they reopen. These loans are available to small businesses, nonprofits, and small landlords that did not receive a loan from either the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) for COVID-19 in 2020. The loans are not forgivable in part or whole. The loans will need to be paid back over a 5-year term with interest.
- NYSERDA COVID-19 Resource Guide
- Protocols for Essential Personnel to Return to Work Following COVID-19 Exposure or Infection: Public and private sector organizations that provide essential services or functions where personnel are needed to perform critical functions, including infrastructure, public safety, and other essential operations, may allow personnel who were exposed to or are recovering from COVID-19 to work in the workplace setting, if needed to maintain essential operations.
- Requiring Face Coverings for Public and Private Employees: Governor Cuomo signed an Executive Order on April 12, 2020 that directs essential businesses to provide, at their expense, face coverings for their employees when in direct contact with customers or members of the public.
- COVID-19 Resources for Manufacturers: A resource guide put together by FuzeHub to assist NYS manufacturers during COVID-19.
- Fall 2020 Plan: Ithaca College has announced plans for the 2020-21 academic calendar. Though the national situation around the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, the college remains committed to delivering a signature IC experience to students in the midst of it, and will continue to prioritize flexibility, safety, and the public good. Learn more.
NYS Department of Labor
- NYS Department of Labor Resources for Unemployment: New York State is waiving the 7-day waiting period for Unemployment Insurance benefits for people who are out of work due to COVID-19 closures or quarantines. Click here for a step-by-step process to file an unemployment claim online.
- NYS Department of Taxation and Finance: The New York State Tax Department, along with the Governor’s office and other agencies throughout the state, is responding to the spread of COVID-19 with information for those affected and will be updating their resource page as more information becomes available.
- NYS Emergency COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Information: Guidance that address the immediate need of employees affected by COVID-19 who are subject to mandatory or precautionary orders of quarantine or isolation.
- NYS Shared Work Program: The NYS Shared Work Program allows businesses to manage business cycles and seasonal adjustments, while retaining trained staff and avoiding layoffs. Under this program, full-time, part-time, and seasonal employees can receive partial unemployment insurance benefits while working reduced hours. For more information, email email@example.com or call 518-549-0496 or 518-457-2635.
Schuyler County Resources
Small Business Development Center
- SBDC (Binghamton University): The SBDC is available to assist small businesses with accessing federal resources, such as working capital loans and counseling, and navigating their preparedness plans.
Tompkins County Resources
- Tompkins Chamber of Commerce
- Tompkins Chamber of Commerce (Virtual) Events: The Tompkins Chamber of Commerce is working to make their Networking at Noon, LEARN, and Roundtable series available virtually. Each event on their calendar includes information on how to participate or whether the event will be postponed.
- COVID-19 Business Resources and COVID-19 Updates Page
- Tompkins Chamber Member Support Fund: The Tompkins Chamber of Commerce has started a support fund to assist members struggling from the impacts of COVID-19.
- Tompkins County/City of Ithaca COVID-19 Small Business Resilience Fund (SBRF): Forgivable loans up to $5,000 for working capital to micro-enterprises and small businesses in Ithaca and Tompkins County experiencing hardship related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Loans will carry a zero-interest rate, an 18-month term, and will be forgiven for businesses open and in operation on December 1, 2020 that have complied with the program rules.
- Tompkins County Area Development (TCAD) Resources
- Downtown Ithaca Alliance Resources
- Tompkins County Workforce Resources (PDF)
- NYS Sixth District Judicial Operating Status (applies to Tompkins County and other Southern Tier and Central NY counties): Learn more about the pause to eviction orders, default judgments, foreclosure auctions, and more.
- Community Foundation COVID-19 Response Fund: The COVID-19 Response Fund will provide flexible resources to basic needs nonprofit organizations in the region working with our communities to address how they and their participants are impacted by this crisis.
- United Way of Tompkins County COVID-19 Response: United Way of Tompkins County is responding to an increase in local needs due to COVID-19 by expanding and expediting its existing funding processes. As always, 100% of donations given through United Way of Tompkins County (UWTC) will continue to go directly to agency programs and services.
- Tompkins Area Financial Institutions:
- Alternatives Federal Credit Union: Schedule an appointment for a business consultation.
- Tompkins Trust Company: Tompkins Trust Company has put a temporary program in place to offer relief to loan customers experiencing hardship due to COVID-19. For more information, please contact TTC at 1-888-273-3210.
- Upstate NY Resources for the Investment Community: Upstate Capital connects investors and entrepreneurs to resources in these unprecedented times. The organization has outlined COVID-19 information that investors may find helpful.
Support For Startups Located Anywhere in the U.S.:
Business Operations/Model Resources
- Communications Planning Tool for Businesses from Cornell University: As your business makes essential changes during the COVID-19 crisis, what is the best way to communicate with employees, customers, and others? Download the linked template for planning your communications. Read more: “Communication Planning: A Template for Organizational Change.”
- Cornell SC Johnson School of Business Connected Conversations: A series of events hosted by The Cornell SC Johnson College of Business discussing how to keep employees engaged, digital currencies in uncertain times, and embracing the uncertainty of the future. Attending the Zoom conversations is free of charge.
- Creating and Selling Gift Cards: Many businesses use electronic point-of-sale (POS) systems, and those vendors often operate their own gift card systems/programs. Many small businesses use Square or Shopify, both of which have resources linked above. The same vendors offer support for selling products or services online. These resources can be integrated into your existing website.
- Food Industry Resources for COVID-19 (Institute for Food Safety at Cornell University): The Institute for Food Safety at Cornell University has created a comprehensive, practical, and convenient website for food processors to ensure safe food handling during the pandemic. Learn more.
- National Restaurant Association Resources: To ensure that restaurants have the latest information about COVID-19, the National Restaurant Association has created industry-specific guidance for owners and operators and compiled actionable resources available for download. Learn more here.
- NVCA Response to COVID-19: Coronavirus Information and Resources for VCs and Startups
- Offering Delivery Services
- Grocers: Rosie, an online grocery shopping platform, helps independent grocers sell their products online with delivery and pickup services.
- Guidance from your State Liquor Authority: Review the evolving guidelines from your State Liquor Authority. New York state’s guidelines: “Guidance on Restrictions for Licensees and To-Go & Delivery Sales in Response to COVID-19 Outbreak.”
- Restaurants/Food Service: Consider using a delivery service (Ithaca to Go is a an option for Ithaca-based businesses) to manage delivery of food. Also, consider food safety to be paramount at this time. Review the guidelines provided by your local County Health Department (Ithaca-based businesses: Tompkins County Health Department).
- Resources for Working Remotely: Zufall Communications has compiled a list of tools and resources to assist companies with rapidly enabling their employees to work from home.
- Small Business Development Center (SBDC): SBDC counselors are available to support businesses in planning and response efforts to COVID-19 and may make referrals to funding sources to support you during an economic downturn. Find your local Center here. Southern Tier-based businesses can contact the Binghamton SBDC office via their website or call 607-777-4024 to set up an appointment.
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce Business Resiliency Resources
- American Industrial Hygiene Association: “Back to Work Safely”: The AIHA provides expert, industry-specific guidance for both businesses and consumers to safely re-open and re-engage as they emerge from the COVID-19 quarantine.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: In addition to up-to-date information on COVID-19, the CDC provides specific precautions and actions for businesses.
- CDC’s Considerations for Wearing Cloth Face Coverings – How to Slow the Spread of COVID-19:Cloth face coverings are recommended as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the cloth face covering coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice. This is called source control. This recommendation is based on what we know about the role respiratory droplets play in the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, paired with emerging evidence from clinical and laboratory studies that shows cloth face coverings reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth. COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), so the use of cloth face coverings is particularly important in settings where people are close to each other or where social distancing is difficult to maintain. Learn more about the CDC’s recommendations regarding cloth face coverings.
- EEOC Guidance on “What You Should Know About the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and COVID-19”: The EEOC enforces workplace anti-discrimination laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act, including the requirement for reasonable accommodation and rules about medical examinations and inquiries. The ADA and Rehabilitation Act rules continue to apply, but they do not interfere with or prevent employers from following the guidelines and suggestions made by the CDC or state/local public health authorities about steps employers should take regarding COVID-19. Employers should remember that guidance from public health authorities is likely to change as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves. Therefore, employers should continue to follow the most current information on maintaining workplace safety.
- FuzeHub: “A Quick Start Guide to Remote Work”: Many companies are looking to manage their operations remotely for the time being. In many countries and in some parts of the United States, non-essential personal are required to stay home in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. Employees and managers can find effective ways to work from home in this guide.
- Helpful Recruitment Marketing Resources: Talent acquisition departments across all industries are having to adjust. Here are some resources to help companies shift to virtual interviews and hiring events or ramp up hiring in sectors such as healthcare or the gig economy.
- OSHA Guidance on Preparing the Workplaces for Coronavirus
- U.S. Department of Labor “Families First Coronavirus Response Act”: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) administers and enforces the new law’s paid leave requirements. These provisions will apply from the effective date through December 31, 2020.
- U.S. Department of Labor Resources: Includes guidance on workplace safety, wages, hours, leave, and unemployment insurance. The U.S. Department of Labor has released a FAQ page on “COVID-19 or Other Public Health Emergencies and the Fair Labor Act.”
- NSF Request for SBIR/STTR Phase I Proposals Addressing COVID-19: US-based small businesses are invited to submit Phase I proposals focused on the development and deployment of new technologies, products, processes, and services with the potential to positively impact the nation’s and world’s ability to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. Areas of research that might be considered include, but are not limited to: artificial intelligence, digital health, diagnostics, distributed ledger, environmental technologies, medical devices, pharmaceutical technologies, disinfection and sterilization, and filtration and separations. Interested proposers are invited to submit to the NSF Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I Program.
- NSF Rapid Response Research (RAPID): NSF encourages the research community to respond to this challenge through existing funding opportunities. In addition, we invite researchers to use the Rapid Response Research (RAPID) funding mechanism, which allows NSF to receive and review proposals having a severe urgency with regard to availability of or access to data, facilities or specialized equipment as well as quick-response research on natural or anthropogenic disasters and similar unanticipated events.
- SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL): The SBA provides low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help businesses and homeowners recover from declared disasters. Apply directly through the SBA for the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan.
- Please note that the application cannot be saved, so applicants should be prepared with the following:
- Form of business, date formed, and EIN
- 12 month revenue and cost of goods for the 12 months preceding 1/31/2020 (applicants may use their 2019 year-end numbers)
- Bank account and routing number
- Check the last box for the $10k loan advance and certify that the information is true.
- Record the application confirmation number after submitting the application.
- The advance will be direct deposited to the bank account provided in the application and applicant should be contacted via email or by phone regarding eligibility for the EIDL loan (beyond the $10k advance) in 3 – 4 weeks. All prior documents that have been completed may be used by the SBA at a later date.
- Tips for filing for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (from the Bonadio Group)
- Please note that the application cannot be saved, so applicants should be prepared with the following:
- SBA Payment Protection Program (PPP): An SBA loan that helps businesses (under 500 employees) keep their workforce employed during the COVID-19 crisis. SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. The Paycheck Protection Program will be available starting April 3 through August 8, 2020. Applicants can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. The application period is closed. Information for those who have received a PPP loan can be found at the website above.
- It is possible to apply for both the SBA PPP and SBA EIDL now (see above) and sort out the details later. More info on filing for the SBA PPP and SBA EIDL can be found here (Western New York Incubator Network) and here (Miller Mayer Law Firm).
- SBA PPP Interim Final Rule (PDF)
- “New Details on How to Get Your PPP Loan Forgiven” (Inc.)
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce: “Coronavirus Small Business Guide”
- U.S. Small Business Administration: “COVID-19 Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources”
- Verizon-LISC Small Business Recovery Grant: Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is using $2.5M in Verizon funding to provide grants up to $10,000 to businesses facing immediate financial pressure because of COVID-19, especially those who do not have access to flexible, affordable capital, such as minority and women-owned businesses. Register to be notified of next funding round.
- Marketing in the Age of Corona: What comes next? Smith Business Insight and Queen’s Executive Education recorded a 60-minute webinar examining these and other important questions related to marketing during and following the pandemic.