How to make a living in Chicago sex work amid a pandemic? More hours, less pay and a good internet connection
CHICAGO — Like a lot of people in these months of quarantine, E.B. Cotenord is having a tough time making ends meet. COVID-19 has made it too risky to pursue her profession as she normally does, so she’s working from home, putting in crazy hours and making a fraction of her former earnings.What’s different about Cotenord is her job.She is a full-service sex worker, otherwise known as an escort, whose services normally command $500 an hour. She stopped seeing clients shortly after Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the first stay-at-home order in March, switching her business model almost overnight t...
Why a red-hot small business relief program has gone stone cold
The nation’s hottest business relief program turned into a dud this week.After snapping up more than $500 billion in emergency loans in just three weeks, small business owners have suddenly lost interest in the federal Paycheck Protection Program.Bankers say new applications have slowed to a trickle, a stunning turnaround from the early days of the program, when panicked business owners contacted multiple financial institutions in a desperate attempt to find anyone willing to handle their application.In the past seven days, the U.S. Small Business Administration approved just $10 billion in ne...
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
Thousands of owners of McDonald's and other big franchises get PPP loans; independent eateries fight back
ORLANDO, Fla. — Struggling to hang on through the coronavirus crisis, Omelet Bar has had to let go of most of its three dozen employees. But the owner of the independent brunch spot near the University of Central Florida hopes a small-business loan from the federal government will help his business stay afloat.“I’m down to a minimum crew,” said Tarek Kanso, a UCF graduate who started Omelet Bar three years ago. “This money would help me bring more of the crew back to work and help with bills and maybe rent if there’s anything left over after that.”Kanso said he is still waiting for his “Payche...
The collapse of small business: Wondering what comes next in a San Diego neighborhood
SAN DIEGO — In San Diego’s South Park neighborhood, the doors of small shops are typically thrown open. Dogs strolling past tug their humans into the open doorways, collecting treats from the business owners up and down Fern Street.Like most local neighborhoods, the shop owners here are the stewards of their streets. They keep the sidewalks clean; the trash cans emptied; the water bowls full for their resident pets. The storefronts, meticulously cared for, are uniquely San Diegan, as chains are rarely welcomed.Frilly coats, retro hats and old treasures sit in the windows of Bad Madge & Co., a ...
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Wobbly restart for small business loan program
The federal government fumbled the reboot of the popular Paycheck Protection Program on Monday, with bankers saying just a fraction of loan applications managed to get through a balky system at the U.S. Small Business Administration.“We heard from small banks, large banks and midsize banks that they all had a ton of trouble,” said Joe Witt, president of the Minnesota Bankers Association. “It was an equal opportunity problem, unfortunately.”Some banks spent hours trying to get a single application through the system. Others sent their lending teams home during the day and told them to come back...
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
Harvard pushes back against Trump's claim it took stimulus money for small businesses
This Ivy isn’t wilting under pressure.Harvard University is pushing back hard against President Donald Trump’s “inaccurate” claim that it scored coronavirus stimulus cash intended for struggling small businesses.“Harvard did not apply for, nor has it received any funds through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses. Reports saying otherwise are inaccurate,” the university wrote on its official Twitter feed.The elite Ivy League college says it only received money under a separate plan designed to help universities support disadvantaged st...
New York Daily News
Large hotel, restaurant companies getting small-business loans want to spend less of the money paying workers
Large hotel, restaurant companies getting small-business loans want to spend less of the money paying workersThe Pennsylvania investment firm that owns the Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove in Miami has applied for as many as 48 taxpayer-backed loans under an emergency program meant to help the nation’s smallest businesses hang on to their employees through the coronavirus pandemic.A Maryland hotel company that did more than $1.5 billion in revenue last year has applied for more than 50 loans — and been approved for about 10 so far.And Florida-based Ruth’s Hospitality Group Inc. — the parent company ...
SBA disaster grants slow to arrive, and may be smaller than expected
Two weeks after small business owners were supposed to start receiving $10,000 disaster grants from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the coronavirus-related relief is finally flowing.But it could be weeks before some companies receive their funds, and the checks may be significantly smaller than expected, according to Rob Scott, the SBA’s regional administrator for six Midwestern states.“There has been a historic level of demand for this help,” Scott said. “We are doing everything we can as an agency to get those funds into people’s hands, if they qualify, as soon as possible.”The disas...
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
Small businesses are scrambling to grab $350 billion in coronavirus cash before it runs out
So many businesses are rushing to get loans through a special Small Business Administration coronavirus relief program that some banks are struggling to keep up.“We got thousands of applications,” said Dan Fitzpatrick, president of Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania, which normally processed a few hundreds SBA loans a month.The $350 billion Payroll Protection Program is part of the $2.2 trillion economic rescue package President Donald Trump signed into law late last month.“I have to applaud the government for moving swiftly with this program. This really helps,” said Amol R. Kohli, president of th...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Wells Fargo says Fed's growth cap limits its small business bailout lending
Wells Fargo, the country’s biggest small-business lender, says the ban on its growth, a punishment for its past sales practices, limits how much it can lend to small businesses through the bailout program passed by Congress last month.The bank said Sunday that it received ample demand for the $349 billion small-business stimulus passed by Congress, but that it’s already maxed out how much it can lend to small-businesses through the program at $10 billion.Wells has been restricted from growing past its 2017 size, about $2 trillion in assets, since early 2018 by the Federal Reserve, as punishmen...
The Charlotte Observer