COVID-19: Emergency funds and resources for small businesses

Tamar Freundlich
By Tamar Freundlich
April 1, 2020 · 13 min read

Small businesses across the world are already feeling the extreme financial crunch of the spreading coronavirus and the restrictions that followed.  

As small businesses tend to carry greater credit constraints and are usually more sensitive to weak consumer demand, they are hit hardest in an economic crisis. The drastic measures taken to protect the public from COVID-19 are uniquely damaging to small businesses, especially those that rely on foot traffic or face to face social interaction.

While we are seeing many businesses work hard to adapt and move online in order to keep their doors open,  you’re not alone in these trying times. From governments or private companies, in the form of loans, grants, advertising spaces, and free services, there are helping hands everywhere. In times like these, all of us should take all the help we can get.

We put together a list of small business aid offered globally, as well as a breakdown of various governmental stimulus packages, to help small businesses overcome this difficult time.

We will continue to update this resource as the situation evolves. Please let us know if we missed any good ones.

Small business aid from private companies


  • Aid type: Grants and advertising credits
  • Funding amount: Total fund is $100 million in cash and ad credits
  • Who can apply:  Any small business in over 30 countries where Facebook operates


  • Aid type: Google Ad credits
  • Funding amount: Total fund is $340 million
  • Who can apply: Small and medium businesses, who advertise on Google or its partners around the world (with active accounts since the beginning of 2019).

JPMorgan Chase

  • Aid type: Loans and interest-rate reductions
  • Funding amount: Total donation is $8 million
  • Who can apply: Small businesses vulnerable to significant economic hardships in the U.S., China, and Europe.


  • Aid type: Waived delivery fees, same-day payouts
  • Who can apply: Independent restaurants in U.S. and Canada.


  • Aid type: Waived advertising fees, and free advertising, products, and services.
  • Funding amount: N/A, up to $25 million in total services
  • Who can apply: Independent local restaurant and nightlife businesses on Yelp.


  • Aid type: Donation-matching micro-grants
  • Funding limit: $500 per business, the total fund is over  $1.5 million
  • Who can apply: Independently owned and operated small businesses with GoFundMe campaigns to offset negative impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic


  • Aid type: Crowdfund donation support
  • Who can apply: Independently owned and operated small businesses. 

Opportunity Fund

  • Aid type: Grants and low-interest loans
  • Who can apply: Small businesses owned by women, immigrants, and people of color.

Freelancers Union

  • Aid type: Financial aid
  • Funding limit: $1000 per freelance household
  • Who can apply: Any independent worker in the U.S. who has primarily earned income through freelance work for at least one year.


  • Aid type: Free financial and legal advice
  • Who can apply: Restaurant owners who want to get advice from finance and law experts in the hospitality industry.  

COVID-19 government relief by country 

Along with privately-owned companies, governments around the world enacted new measures to help protect the local economy. We put together a quick overview of some of these relief packages and what they mean for your small business. 

Please note: This is just a guide to a few response plans for COVID-19 by certain governments. To learn more about the program in your specific country, reach out to your local legislature. Also, if you have updated information about any country on or off this list, please let us know so we can help the rest of the small business community.

United States

The United States government passed the historic CARES Act to help keep businesses in all sectors up and running. The $2 trillion stimulus bill created low-interest rates, new loans, and other benefits. Some of the most influential measures for your business include: 

  • The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): The PPP earmarks about $349 million for low-interest loans for small businesses up to $10 million. If 75% of that money goes to pay workers, the business will be eligible for full loan forgiveness by the federal government. 
  • Federal support for state and local governments: The CARES act allocates $274 billion to state governments. This money will be used by individual states in their local response to COVID-19. Many states in the union offer upfront capital, low-interest loans, and cash benefits for small businesses and contract workers. Check with your local government for specific programs. 
  • Funds for individuals: The US government is giving direct cash payments of $1,200 to individuals making up $75,000 per year. Families will get $500 per child in the household. This one-time payment is designed to help subsidize the cost of living for Americans during this time and can serve as a small buffer for freelancers and contract workers. 

For more information about the CARES Act and its direct impact on your business, head to the US Small Business Administration COVID-19 response page


In response to COVID-19, Canada provides wage subsidies, benefits, and various loans, among other things. For those of you in Canada, the most significant of these measures that can help your small business keep your doors open today include: 

  • The emergency benefit: This entitles recipients to $2,000 a month for up to 4 months. It is taxable and available to people who must stop working due to the virus and do not have access to paid sick leave, people who are sick with COVID-19, anyone taking care of a sick family member, and all self-employed workers, including freelancers and contract workers.
  • Small business loans: The Canadian government is offering low-interest loans up to $2 million as long as your business has been generating revenues for at least 24 months.
  • Wage subsidy: The government will give a 75% wage subsidy to businesses with a 30% or more decrease in revenue for up to 3 months. The subsidy applies to the first $58,700 on an annual salary, or on $847 per week. 

For more information on the Canadian relief program, head to the COVID-19 resource center or the Canadian Federation of Small Businesses

United Kingdom

The UK government released timely and targeted measures to help its economy and citizens in response to the threat of the virus. Among them are grants, subsidies, and sick leave extensions. If you’re a small business owner in the UK, these are some of the measures that can help you most: 

  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: This is a wage relief effort that states the government will pay up to 80% of a worker’s wage, up to a total of £2,500 per worker each month, for up to 3 months (with an option to extend). 
  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme: Available through participating lenders, this plan offers qualifying small businesses 12-month interest-free loans for up to £5 million.
  • Grants: The UK government offers grants to small businesses and businesses in the retail and hospitality sectors. Qualifying small business grant recipients get a one-off payment of £10,000 to help meet ongoing business costs. The retail and hospitality grant scheme provides businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property. For businesses with a rateable value of under £15,000, you’ll receive a grant of £10,000. For businesses with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000, you’ll receive a grant of £25,000.

For the full breakdown of all of the schemes offered by the United Kingdom, visit the dedicated COVID-19 support page.


Amidst the constantly changing climate, the Australian government enacted several new plans to help support small businesses across the country. Programs that can help your business now include:

  • Boosting cash flow for employers: This measure provides up to $25,000 tax-free subsidy for small and medium-sized businesses with annual net sales of less than $50 million.
  • Business tax deduction: The government will increase the instant asset write-off threshold from $30,00 to $150,000 for businesses with annual net sales of less than $500 million until the end of June 2020.
  • Extended support for apprentices and trainees: Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50% of apprentice or trainee wages for up to 9 months to a maximum of $21,000 per eligible apprentice or trainee.

For further explanation of all of the Australian relief programs, read the official document from the treasury department.


In response to the outbreak, the Danish government expedited the following initiatives to protect workers and businesses across the country: 

  • Temporary pay compensation: Under this plan, the government will compensate 75% of the total pay for an employee on salary per month (max of DKK 23,000) and 90% of the total pay (max DKK 26,000) for an hourly employee per hour, per month. 
  • Compensation for canceled events: The government will compensate all businesses and organizations that had to cancel live events from March 6-31st, 2020 (compensation does not include any profit businesses planned to receive from the event). 

To learn more about Denmark’s complete economic relief plan, visit the COVID-19 dedicated website


From wage reimbursements to tax payment deferrals, the French government laid out an extensive program to help businesses survive the COVID-19 threat. These specific plans are designed to help your small business today: 

  • Wage reimbursement: This section of the plan ensures that the government will reimburse employers in order to pay 70% of their workers’ gross salary. For all workers currently making minimum wage or less, the government will pay 100% of their normal wages. 
  • Suspension of bills and tax payments: For small businesses heavily affected by the virus, the government suspended payments of rent, electricity, water, gas, property taxes, and social service payments. 
  • Solidarity benefit: The French government is providing € 1,500 to any business that was forced to close, which earned 70% less income in March 2020 than in March 2019, or makes less than € 1 million in turnover.

For a full outline and breakdown of France’s economic relief program for businesses of all sizes, check out this detailed support center


Working quickly to provide economic relief to the entire country, Germany created new initiatives available to businesses of all sizes. The plan distributes much-needed funds in the form of cash benefits, new loans, and more. If you operate a small business in Germany, the following pieces of the program can help you now: 

  • Emergency cash benefit: Employees of businesses with up to 5 full-time workers, can receive a one-time payment of €9,000. Employees of a business with up to 10 full-time workers, can receive a one-time payment of €15,000.
  • KfW loans: If you’ve been in business for at least 3 years, you can receive money towards investment and work capital for your business with up to 90% risk assumption by the government. 

To see the entire German economic relief plan, head to the dedicated COVID-19 section of their website. 


As one of the hardest-hit countries by the coronavirus, the Italian government enacted quick measures to support the economy while their citizens entered prolonged isolation. Parts of the plan that can help your small business today include: 

  • Rent relief: For all physical stores and shops, the government will grant a tax credit equal to 60% of your rent for the month of March. 
  • Redundancy fund: Employers of any business (including those with fewer than 5 workers), who were forced to close because of the outbreak, will receive government funds in order to pay their workers 50% of their previous wages for up to 9 weeks. 
  • Self-employed benefit: All self-employed individuals (freelancers and contract workers) are eligible to receive a monthly payment of €600 for 3 months.

To learn more about the entire Italian response package and plans, visit the coronavirus support center


The Netherlands created more measures, including extending recipients for unemployment, tax deferrals, and wage compensations, to combat this unique threat to the economy. Plans that help small businesses throughout the country include:

  • Bridge loans: The government will give loans, or grant larger overdrafts, for small businesses that are missing income or production. 
  • Shorter workdays: The government offers the option for essential businesses still operating with employees to reduce working hours and those employees are now eligible to receive unemployment benefits.
  • Wage compensation plan: For all small businesses and self-employed workers (contractors and freelancers) who cannot work due to COVID-19, the government will compensate €1500 net per month to a maximum of €3500 for the next 3 months.

For a complete list of the Netherlands coronavirus relief plan, visit the government’s dedicated business support center

New Zealand 

Within days of the COVID-19 outbreak in New Zealand, the government released its full plan for economic support. Like other countries, it includes a plan for wage subsidies, loans, and other benefits to help small businesses throughout the country. Specific schemes that small businesses can use today include:

  • Wage subsidy scheme: This plan helps support both employers (so they can continue to pay employees) and workers (so they can continue to get paid even if they can’t work) adversely affected by COVID-19. It gives $585.80 per week for full-time employees, where full-time is 20 hours or more per week, and $350 per week for part-time employees, where part-time is less than 20 hours per week. It applies to all of the following businesses: 
    • self-employed
    • contractors
    • sole traders
    • registered charities
    • incorporated societies
    • post-settlement governance entities
  • Leave and self-isolation support: A plan designed to help individuals who become sick or need to care for a sick person. The payments will be $585.80 per week for full-time and $350 per week for part-time workers.

For a more complete understanding of New Zealand’s relief program, go to the COVID-19: Information for business page, New Zealand Inland Revenue, and follow Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern on Facebook to ask her questions directly during her frequent live updates. 


While the Spanish government continues to thwart the negative effects of this pandemic on the health of their people, they simultaneously created a set plan for the economic support of businesses across the country. The most beneficial for your small business include: 

  • Paid-leave: All workers (excluding essential and emergency service employees) will receive their full base wage, plus any extras, for the days between March 30 to April directly from the government. 
  • Tax deferrals: Small businesses can defer all tax debts, or pay them in installments, interest-free for up to 6 months.

For the full set of plans included in the program, visit the Spanish government website


To bolster their already robust social service schemes to citizens, Sweden added specific measures and bills to help small businesses and contract workers continue to receive support during these trying times. Two measures that greatly impact these communities are: 

  • Sick pay leave: For all workers, including self-employed individuals, the government will temporarily pay the full cost for all sick pay costs throughout April and May. The self-employed population will receive standard sick pay benefits from day 1 to day 14. 
  • Short term leave wage subsidy: For those workers forced to take short term leave during this time, the government will pay 90% of their salary.

To learn more about the benefits and support for Swedish citizens, visit their coronavirus support hub.

Free tools and additional resources 

Entrepreneur put together a list of 111 free tools to help small-medium businesses through the coronavirus pandemic – Check it out here.’s COVID-19 Support Hub for Small Businesses

In this hub, we provide small businesses with numerous free tools, including our Free Promo Plan, to help you reach out to your customers and maintain an online presence during this trying time – Check it out here.

About the author

Tamar Freundlich

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