COVID Microlending Stories #Smallbusinessweek

COVID Microlending Stories #Smallbusinessweek

It’s Small Business Week and microlending through the Small Business Administration has been a major lifeline to many American small businesses navigating COVID over the last year. Through May 2, 2021, the Microlending community has made 156k PPP loans for $2.76 billion (averaging $16k each). Join us as we highlight some of the Friends of SBA Microlenders who have been making a big difference this year to small businesses working to retain jobs, grow, and even thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Since 1987, MoFi has provided financing and consulting to entrepreneurs and small business owners across the Northern Rockies, as well as affordable housing solutions. 

Calf Pen Products

Calf Pen Products, fulfills a longtime dream of Robyn Warner growing her home-based bakery and canning operation into a viable main street business. Now, through a $10,499 SBA Microloan the business received in January 2020, Calf Pen Products is not only providing fresh-made breads, baked goods, jams and canned items to local customers, but Robyn has a commercial-grade kitchen that allowed her to supply goods to restaurants and grocery stores in surrounding rural towns, which was vital once the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Treasure Valley Movers

In Spring 2020 as people left crowded cities, Treasure Valley Movers saw an increase in demand for its services. Owner Troy Richmond visited his local credit union to apply for a working capital loan, but learned his credit score was just below the institution’s threshold. In December 2020, MoFi provided him with a $25,890 SBA Microloan. This loan helped him purchase the truck he needed to take on new customers and meet the high demand for his services as families continue to move to Idaho amid the pandemic.

My Sister’s Keeper Daycare & Preschool

Christina Carmichael had visions of expanding her daycare and preschool on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Western Montana. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, those plans kicked into high gear, as Christina started taking more kids and needed to expand the facility to meet childcare licensing requirements. As the pandemic’s impacts grew, so did her clients’ needs. MoFi provided Christina with an $11,277 SBA Microloan in August 2020, enabling her to move forward with the expansion, adding a second classroom, bathroom, new parking area and privacy fence to allow children to play safely in the front yard.

Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE) 

As Georgia’s largest small business focused community development loan fund, ACE catalyzes entrepreneurial growth through financing and education, with a focus on women, people of color, and low to moderate-income business owners.

Eclectic 79 Home Furniture

Juan Carlos and Viviana Ramirez, owners of Eclectic 79 Home Furniture Store in Dalton, GA first learned about ACE when they needed a small business loan to purchase inventory in January 2020. Furniture sales were going well until the pandemic hit in March and traffic in the store came to a standstill. They became very concerned because the store was the livelihood for their whole family as well as supporting other employees.  ACE was able to immediately offer payment deferrals to help relieve the pressure and their ACE SBA microloan was eligible for the CARES ACT payments from April through September.  This fast action was much appreciated since they were denied their SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan due to an administrative issue.  

Jolie Day Spa

Jolie Day Spa and Salon is a full-service spa located in downtown Dahlonega, Georgia. This small business loan was to provide permanent working capital for Nicole Wimpy to restart business operations post Covid-19. Nicole was able to cut expenses, start a spa membership program and actually increase revenues over the previous year by the end of 2020. Nicole Wimpy has been a client with ACE for over 5 years.  She’s a member of the ACE Women’s High Performing Group and receives one-on-one business advisory services to strengthen her business and meet her growth goals. This loan was her fourth one from ACE for her various small businesses

Ms. Niecy’s Learning Center

As one of the premier daycare facilities in Southwest Atlanta, Ms. Niecy’s is more than a daycare center. They are a student-focused affordable preschool and learning center that accepts infants, toddlers, preschool and after-school children. A recent expansion in their AfterCare division has allowed them to have a staff of 20 employees, which is making a tremendous economic impact on their southwest Atlanta community. The latest loan in April 2020 of four, ACE was able to restructure their financing to consolidate payments and ease the burden of the pandemic.


Justine Petersen Housing and Reinvestment Corporation (Justine PETERSEN) is a Missouri Not-for-Profit Corporation with a mission to connect institutional resources with the needs of low-to moderate-income individuals and families and founded Great Rivers Community Capital CDFI in 1999.

Dellwood Pharmacy

Dellwood Pharmacy is located in north St. Louis County in an area that is considered a “pharmacy desert,” where in recent years two major chain pharmacies have closed. Rebecca Mawuenega first came to Justine PETERSEN to access an SBA Community Advantage loan to acquire the community pharmacy that had been in business for 13 years. Subsequently, COVID-19 led to a 40% plummeting in sales revenue.  Rebecca reached out to Justine PETERSEN for a PPP loan that allowed her to retain her 4 person staff. “It was crucial for my business to receive a PPP loan in a timely fashion.” The pharmacy has been highlighted in the Wall Street Journal and in local St. Louis news for its role in the community providing critical COVID vaccines.  

Revive Outreach

Revive Outreach Inc helps individuals and families as they seek to improve their quality of life through the provision of safe, secure and affordable housing and economics security. This loan assisted Revive Outreach Inc, in their commitment to provide affordable housing in underserved communities during the pandemic in 2020. Dayonne is a returning client that has another business, Revive Janitorial and she came back to JP in February of 2020 and received a loan for $10,500 as she knew that JP would be able assist her with her second business.  The loan was paid back in full in July of 2020.

Cool J’s Apparel

Cool J’s Apparel is a minority founded company that was established in May, 2020. Toni Hopkins created this business as there was a need for quality, affordable apparel available locally with a primary focus on women who live in areas where there are not many traditional retail options, and in the middle of the pandemic when retail options were further limited. Toni Hopkins has a strong background in finance, having worked in the field for 15+ years. This loan assisted Cool J’s for working capital to establish the lease and cover all required start-up operating costs, inventory for equipment, furnishings, marketing and advertising.

Tune in this week for more #SmallBusinessWeek microlending stories from the last year.