The U.S. Small Business Administration has stood side by side of small businesses during the COVID -19 pandemic, offering programs such as the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan, Paycheck Protection Program, Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, and Restaurant Revitalization Fund.
Data from the Paycheck Protection Program, Shuttered Venue Operators Grant and Restaurant Revitalization Fund show that more than $2.6 billion went to businesses in West Virginia alone. With the closure of these three programs, the SBA continues delivering economic aid to help small businesses recover with critical relief through programs such as the Economic Injury Disaster Loan [EIDL], Targeted EIDL Advance and Supplemental Targeted Advance, and the Community Navigator Program.
The COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan remains open until the end of December or until funds run out. It is vital not to delay. For additional information on SBA’s Economic Relief programs, visit COVID-19 relief options (sba.gov). These efforts show how the SBA is committed to providing critical resources to small businesses like Analabs, Inc. in Crab Orchard, WV.
Analabs is an environmental, drug and cannabis testing business, founded in 1987 by current Vice President Kelli Harrison’s father, Charlie Thompson.
Since the decline in the coal industry finances have been tight, but when the pandemic hit Harrison knew times were about to get tougher. She immediately started attending webinars hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s West Virginia District Office on COVID-19 relief options available through the agency.
She quickly applied and received both an Economic Injury Disaster Loan and First and Second Draw Paycheck Protection Program loans.
“The COVID-19 loans kept us in business – they really did,” stated Harrison. “We kept all of our staff on payroll, even our part time staff, who pivoted their job duties and caught up on shredding and filing. It was truly a life saver to keep our work family together.”
Harrison praised SBA’s Disaster Customer Service Center stating “I was completely impressed with the call center; they were so nice and helpful. I even called on a weekend and was able to talk to someone.”
Harrison used PPP and EIDL for payroll, insurance, and keeping up with accounts payable. “Being able to pay our vendors and have the supplies our team needed to do their jobs was crucial in keeping our business open during the pandemic,” noted Harrison. “Paying your vendors really trickles down to helping keep other small businesses open.”
About the Author
Karen Friel – SBA WV District Director
Karen Friel is the district director for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s West Virginia District Office and has been employed by the agency for the past 14 years. During her tenure with SBA she has held multiple positions including administrative officer, business development specialist, lead business development specialist, deputy district director, acting district director and district director. Karen is responsible for the delivery and leadership of SBA’s financial and business development programs throughout the state of West Virginia.
Karen’s top priority coming into the role as district director was to lead the West Virginia District Office to build strong relationships with federal, state, and local agencies and organizations. This initiative has proven successful and resulted in the office meeting the needs of more small businesses in West Virginia through the creation of collaborative partnerships, and has led to the team to exceeding the agency’s targeted goals and measures each consecutive fiscal year.
Karen attended Fairmont State University and obtained degrees in marketing, management, and business administration. She has nearly 30 years of experience in banking, business, marketing, event coordination, and management. Prior to joining the SBA, Friel was a commercial loan processor for ten years with multiple banking institutions in West Virginia.
Karen is a West Virginia native, growing up on the slopes at Snowshoe Mountain Resort. She currently resides in Bridgeport with her husband and two children