Duncan and Rita MacDonald-Korth have spent several years growing their businesses. Rita owns thepresenteur.com and has worked to develop partnerships with different retailers around the country to feature her pop-up stores.
“It’s kind of like a traveling, small boutique,” she said.
Duncan has focused on his wealth management newsletter, finsum.com, which he says relies heavily on advertisers. Then COVID-19 hit.
“Because of all the craziness in the market, pretty much everyone has suspended their marketing budgets,” he said.
Rita’s partnerships were also put on hold indefinitely after retailers closed traditional stores. So when the Miami couple heard of the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program they didn’t waste any time and applied.
“It sounded good,” Duncan said.
The couple told NBC 6 they submitted their applications on April 3.
“We grew increasingly frustrated as the program went on with how it’s been executed,” he said.
The lack of information on how the loans were being processed and their own difficulty getting answers on the status of their own PPP loan applications, led them to launch the site: covidloantracker.com.
“It helps you as an applicant understand, ok, is my application behind schedule? Am I ahead of schedule? Where do I sit in terms of average size?” Duncan said. “It gives you some context.”
The site invites small business owners to share their experiences in a brief survey. As of Thursday morning, more than 22,000 surveys had been submitted. Rita and Duncan said the data gathered so far suggests businesses using small/regional banks have had a higher success rate with their applications. For PPP loans, the survey information suggests the median size of a loan is $120,000 and about 8% of those who have successfully applied for PPP loans have actually received funds.
“And that replicates itself in Florida so there’s a lot of small business owners in South Florida who may have seen a positive outcome in their application but they’re still waiting on money,” Duncan said. “If you’re a small business owner, being approved means nothing and getting the money so you can pay your employees and operate your business means everything.”
Rita and Duncan said they are sharing the data they’re gathering with local and national leaders, hoping to change the way any additional funding is handled. They also said they plan to follow how the loan forgiveness aspect of the PPP program plays out.