Businesses across South Florida are now applying to the latest round of the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), but some hope to get much more this time around.
NBC 6 Investigators found some business owners got as little as $1 in PPP money during the first round.
“We had to close for three weeks, I had to say goodbye,” Natalia Morales said.
The NBC 6 Investigators get results
Morales is the owner of Lollipaws Grooming Services in Fort Lauderdale.
She says she hoped the program would help after her business suffered a financial setback early in the pandemic.
“I thought it was going to help me a lot. I said well this is going to save my business,” Morales said.
But she says she didn’t get what she was expecting. Her business qualified for just $149 in PPP money.
“I saw the deposit and I was like, 'Oh my God, I can’t even believe it,'" Morales said. “I even said to my mom, 'I think they forgot to write one zero.'"
Morales is not the only one.
NBC 6 Investigators found hundreds of South Florida businesses received these micro-loans during the first PPP round.
In Miami-Dade and Broward, 1,152 PPP loans given to small businesses were for $1,000 or less, according to data released by the SBA. Most of these loans were for amounts between $500 and $1,000.
But there were much smaller loans. Some were for $20 dollars or less. One loan was just $1 dollar.
“My first reaction is that there was probably a mistake in how the application was filled out or in how the calculation was made,” said the SBA’s South Florida District Director Victoria Guerrero.
Guerrero tells us she doesn’t know why some businesses got so little money, adding a missed calculation could lead to errors on the loan application.
According to the SBA’s guidelines on PPP loans at that time, the maximum loan amount a business was eligible for was calculated, in part, by multiplying the average monthly payroll costs by 2.5.
Guerrero says businesses should always contact the agency if they have questions about the application.
“We will be able to help them, ensuring they have the right calculation to make,” Guerrero said.
Morales’ business only has two full-time employees and opened less than a year ago, which could have played a role in how much she got.
But when she asked her lender what led to such a small loan, she says she was not given any explanation.
“They didn’t give me an answer,” Morales said.
Since applying for the PPP loan, Morales says her business has picked up. But with the pandemic still making an impact, she plans on applying for the latest round of PPP money hoping she gets more than last time.