Entrepreneurial Support and Resources for COVID-19 Relief

Shannon Beeman
April 7, 2020

Assistance Available

The Zell Lurie Institute understands these are challenging times for many of our student and alumni entrepreneurs. While specific industries are seeing a decline in revenue, others are struggling to keep up with increased demand for their product or service. To support entrepreneurs on both ends of the spectrum, we have created a list of national resources for our alumni during the COVID-19 crisis.


The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has opened their disaster relief loans to those impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The SBA is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses owners in all U.S. states and territories. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% to nonprofits. A small business is defined by the SBA as a venture with less than 500 employees.

The Treasury has issued guidance on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that is part of the massive $2.2 trillion CARES Act stimulus package. The program allows for a low-interest (1%) loan that will be forgiven if employee wages and count are maintained through June 30, 2020 and if the money is spent on payroll costs, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities in the eight-week period from the origination date. 

The U.S. Economic Development Administration’s investment policy was designed to establish a foundation for sustainable job growth and the building of durable regional economies throughout the United States. Many local Economic Development Agencies have launched grant and loan programs to support businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. To find your local please visit the state directory.


The Association of Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) was created as a partnership program to unite private enterprise, government, higher education and local nonprofit economic development organizations.  Funded by the Small Business Administration and local partners, an SBDC office exists in every U.S. state and territory providing consulting, training programs, market research, and more to small businesses and low to no-cost. For the contact information of your nearest SBDC, click here.

SCORE boasts the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors. As a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration, SCORE has helped over 11 million small business owners since 1964. To connect with a mentor, visit the SCORE website.

The Zell Lurie Institute is here to support all of our University of Michigan entrepreneurs. Whether you graduated in 1959 or 2019, our team of faculty, staff, and entrepreneurs-in-residence are here to support your venture through online advising sessions. Visit the ZLI website to schedule your appointment.


As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, several legislative and regulatory measures have been created in an effort to assist businesses during the economic downturn. The IRS has established a special section focused on steps to help businesses and others affected by the coronavirus.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “FFCRA”) provides small and midsize employers refundable tax credits that reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing paid sick and family leave wages to their employees for leave related to COVID-19.

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service have launched the Employee Retention Credit, designed to encourage businesses to keep employees on their payroll. The refundable tax credit is 50% of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19.


It takes a lot to keep an entrepreneurial venture humming, even more to do so remotely. These organizations have offered free access to their tools for entrepreneurs working through the COVID-19 crisis.

Google has donated $800 million to support small businesses, health organizations, governments, and health workers impacted by COVID-19. The amount includes $340 million in Google Ads credits for small and midsize businesses with active accounts in the past year.

Box, a cloud-storage app, has created a free 90-trial (cancel anytime – no strings attached) during the crisis to help entrepreneurs store and share documents online.

Adobe has offered Adobe Connect, a web conferencing platform, for free to small businesses and individuals through July 1, for meetings of up to 25 participants.

Zoho Remotely has opened up its complete suite of web and mobile apps for free to small business owners through July 1. The program helps remote teams communicate, collaborate, and more.

Moz, the SEO software company, has offered free access to more than a dozen of its Moz Academy SEO courses through May 31, covering everything from keyword research to backlink basics and more.

Hootsuite, the social media management platform, has opened access to its professional plan for no cost through July 1. Keep your social media audience engaged through their digital tools.

The team at Zell Lurie is available to support your entrepreneurial venture. Please connect with our faculty, entrepreneurs-in-residence, and staff during these unprecedented times. Stay safe and always – Go Blue!

For other information about the COVID-19 virus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (https://www.coronavirus.gov) for health information. Other information around actions being taken by the U.S. government is available at https://www.usa.gov/coronavirus and in Spanish at https://gobierno.usa.gov/coronavirus. The Department of Treasury has information available at Coronavirus: Resources, Updates, and What You Should Know.