Heroes in the Fight to Help Financial Victims of COVID-19

Heroes in the Fight to Help Financial Victims of COVID-19

ROSEBURG, Ore. – In the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic, there are many financial victims. One group locally at the forefront is Douglas County’s businesses. On the front lines, representatives from Umpqua Community College’s (UCC) Small Business Development Center (SBDC) are triaging businesses of all types. While they are already working with an overwhelming demand from local business owners on a one-to-one basis, they are also stepping up to offer a no-cost virtual seminar series to help businesses stay afloat.

I opened my email Tuesday and had 47 messages, Kemberly Todd, UCC’s SBDC program manager, said. There’s all this information coming through on the CARES Act, and the application isn’t open yet.

The CARES Act is the main defense that the federal government has put in place for businesses that are struggling right now. The Act, which is short for Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, is part of a $2 trillion stimulus that Congress passed on March 27, 2020. It will provide the following:

  • Low interest disaster loan assistance
  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for 8 weeks
  • Existing SBA Loan Forgiveness
  • Employee retention credits

At a time when businesses need help, UCC’s SBDC program staff are operating at high capacity. Local small business owners are seeking help while the SBDC, the SBA, and area lenders are all trying to understand how to navigate the process.

People are thankful for a live person answering the phone, Todd said. Of the 17 appointments on Monday, 12 of those were new businesses navigating all the new information. The SBA is handling three of the four assistance pieces, and lenders are taking applications for the Paycheck Protection Program. What’s important about connecting to the SBDC is that every single worker here owns a business or has owned one. Four of our own staff members are going through this application already.

Due to reduced demand or financial freezes, there is a chain reaction to business-to-business products and services. One local business recently won a sizable contract and started gearing up to execute it. But due to COVID-19, the contract was cancelled with little notice. The business was left with the debt it incurred while ramping up for its production.
This is a tough time for employer decisions, too, and there is no one who understands that more than another employer.

Many times, SBDC Advisors share their own decision-making filters or considerations, and help apply these to the business owner they are counseling, Todd said.
Certain industries have been incredibly affected such as those who are self-employed and work in the beauty and self-care industry. These people are examples of the new clientele the SBDC is assisting.

As a direct response to the business community’s needs, UCC’s SBDC is offering a no-cost, four-part seminar series from Monday, April 13, through Thursday, April 16, from 6 to 7 p.m. The hour-long sessions will include 45 minutes of content and 15 minutes for questions and answers. The following are the sessions and topics:

  • Session One | Loans, grants, and financial resource with Sam Gross
  • Session Two | Online visibility and engagement with Aaron Larsen
  • Session Three | E-commerce and online sales with Justin Deedon
  • Session Four | Staying productive and communicative while working remotely with Lisa Woods, SBDC Director


The SBDC can help any type of business, including those looking to start a business. If your business needs help and you would like to know what the CARES Act can provide, the SBDC will answer their phone and provide assistance.

About Umpqua Community College

Nestled in the beautiful North Umpqua River Valley, Umpqua Community College is the regional center for higher education in Douglas County, Oregon. UCC provides high quality college degree programs, workforce development, and community learning opportunities.