Helping Entrepreneurs in COVID-19 World: There is over $14.5 billion in capital relief available – can you find it fast enough?

Yesterday I posted about making some of our learning resources available to entrepreneurs globally to help with COVID-19 realities. And in less than 8 hours, nearly 200 new visitors from 32 countries came to to get free access to our video training on how to strategize, target and close the right impact investing deal, and to sign up for an invitation to our free webinar on managing capital raising during the crisis. Honestly, this was just thrilling to all of us at CASE at Duke. And the free offer is good through April 8, so click for more info if that’s of interest to you.

Today, I’m posting about capital resources. Cold hard cash. We usually talk a lot about the impact of business, and I wrote a few months ago about the arrival of stakeholder capitalism, and sometimes people aren’t sure if they believe in it. But in these troubled times when businesses are closing and unsure how to stay alive when they have very few customers, staying in business has an impact beyond just owners that everyone can understand.

We knew that a lot of people have made new emergency funds available for entrepreneurs, but we didn’t know how to find them. We figured if we didn’t, how would a stressed entrepreneur do so? We googled, we asked colleagues, and two days ago, we started crowdsourcing. After a day, we realized we had hit a nerve and I went online in search of a way to share a database that was growing faster than I could make entries, even with some generous volunteer help from our students.

The result of that is a new site we’re opening today, called #COVID19CapitalRelief. It is a built-in-24-hours just good enough to do the job, searchable website that includes grants, loans and other cash equivalents that can help entrepreneurs, nonprofits and businesses anywhere in the world. Relief resources are listed at global, national and regional levels. All entries are also fully searchable by any text you want: country, city, state, etc.

No alt text provided for this image

So, what have we learned so far from putting this together?

  • There is over $14.5 billion already available in capital dedicated to COVID-19 relief. As I write this, we have 90 separate entries, and this total of funds available is conservatively estimated. They range from $2500 grant programs to the $14B in loan funds earmarked by the World Bank and the IFC.
  • Many of the resources are governmental. The Federal relief bill being debated in Congress this week in the US has gotten a lot of press, but states and cities have sprung into action in ways that are truly impressive. There are so many new programs that we list other people’s lists and hope that we can build on what others are updating more frequently than we can. One in particular worth a look for US state-level resources is called “Gusto.” Click the search button on the top right of our site to find it. It’s amazingly comprehensive.
  • Corporations are acting fast as well, and putting significant funds aside, but few have dedicated significant funds available to support entrepreneurs. We have a great list on the site by Just Capital that includes those that do.
  • Foundations have been extremely active and there are many new funder collaboratives, especially for new grant dollars and for more flexible grant terms. There appear to be fewer loan collaboratives with philanthropic dollars.
  • We have a lot, but we know much more is missing. Our national-level data is heavy on US and UK resources. We need more information on programs specific to countries in Asia, Latam, Africa and even the rest of Europe. We have a quick google form you can use to send us more suggestions: Please note as you submit entries that we are vetting them to be sure they relate to our goals of featuring capital resources for nonprofit and for-profit entrepreneurs. We have not listed COVID medical sites or info on how to manage operations during this crisis, though in some cases, that’s included in other places we link to, such as the ANDE, SOCAP and Miller Center lists, and a McKinsey resource on these topics, which are all excellent.

I must admit, I didn’t expect to be building a new website this week, while sitting at home working around my kids and trying to energize my students on Zoom, but was spurred into action by the small business needs in our own community. We wanted to get this out FAST and are asking you to help us get the word out so that these resources can get into the hands of the people that need it. Some of the local resources have deadlines as soon as this Friday, and some have been overrun with demand already.

Please share freely, with any entrepreneurs, support organizations, accelerators, government agencies, corporates, anyone. And if you have ideas for how we can get more attention to this, through press, media or otherwise, drop me a note.

Here are some suggested tweets and links you can post and share. Thank you!