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Alaska Small Businesses Struggling, Despite COVID Funding Assistance

When it comes to feeling the effects of COVID-19, Alaska has not been left untouched. Small businesses owners across Alaska are still struggling during the pandemic, despite the loans and grants intended to boost cash flow and carry them through this difficult time.

While the Commerce Department has made $290 million in small business grants available, some small business owners are not eligible. While some nonprofits are eligible, others have found that they are not after receiving small federal loan advances. As a result, these businesses have had their operations come to a screeching halt.

In an interview with KTUU, Nate Vallier, owner of Alaska & Yukon Tours, shared that he had planned to expand his business this summer. However, those much-anticipated plans have been put at a “standstill” due to COVID-19. It has also placed his business in an unfortunate, rocky position moving into the winter months. While he has received some funds, he says it is unclear how long that amount will be sufficient to continue operating smoothly.

“Whether or not it gets us through winter, that is an unknown. If right now we get nothing, we should be solvent for probably three or four months.”

The executive director of the Small Business Development Center, Jon Bittner, says the tone of businesses has shifted quickly as the months of COVID challenges drag on. It has moved from cautiously optimistic to innovative to one of desperation. Some Alaskan small business owners say coronavirus funding between $5,000 and $100,000 would make a difference, while others say it is still not enough to meet their needs.

To address the growing issue, local governments across Alaska are planning or have already started implementing business relief programs. However, many communities are faced with the devastating reality that many of their small businesses will simply not be able to weather the current situation.

Rep. Adam Wool, D-Fairbanks was forthright about the challenges the state currently faces and the future of some Alaska businesses: “I don’t think we can save every business and that’s the sad reality,” he said.

When surveyed, 25 percent of Alaska businesses said they are unsure if they will be able to survive the pandemic and come out on the other side.

Time is Not on Our Side

The one thing Alaska small business owners simply do not have is time. If they are to have any chance of surviving, they need funds fast. Traditional sources of funding are not going to provide speedy capital to boost cash flow and cover costs. For the many companies in this situation, alternative financing solutions may be their best option.

Working with a reputable alternative online lender like, for example, provides the safest and cheapest business funds during COVID-19 recovery, including a merchant cash advance. With a merchant cash advance, the provider buys your future receivables at a discount. You then agree to the amount of sales being bought and decide on the discounted cost. Thus, a cash advance is not a loan, which means you receive fast funds without taking on debt.

FAM is an award-winning alternative online lender and processor that specializes in high risk business funding and merchant processing. Rather than relying solely on federally-backed funds, you can also apply for alternative financing to cover payroll, meet expenses and navigate these unprecedented times.