CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The paycheck protection program (PPP) was put in place to save jobs and keep small businesses afloat.
Now that the loans have had time to work – many want to know: was the funding effective, and was it really enough to save local jobs?
The short answer is yes – the data shows PPP funding saved more than a million North Carolina jobs. But for many small businesses, it wasn’t an easy process.
“It's been definitely a roller coaster of emotions," said Kaitlyn Carfagno Alvas, who owns Charlotte-based SAS Cupcakes. "We couldn't afford to stay open."
Like so many other small business owners in the state, Kaitlyn turned to the PPP program for help.
As long as business owners put most of the money toward staffing and payroll, the loans can be fully forgiven.
That's exactly what Kaitlyn intended to do.
“We applied within the first couple of days," she said. "But...it was super stressful.”
She says it took months for the loan to get approved amid technical difficulties and unresponsive banks – frustrations shared by many, especially in those early months.
“I was just like this isn't even fair, I feel like I didn't even get a shot," she recalled.
Finally, in May, the PPP funds for SAS Cupcakes came through, and Kaitlyn was able to bring back her staff.
"I brought back so many people," she said. "When I got funded and I was able to bring them back, everyone was so grateful. it was, it was truly the best feeling ever.”
Newly released data from the Treasury reveals in North Carolina, 1,246,594 jobs were reportedly saved thanks to the 121,917 PPP loans issued to small businesses in the state, totaling more than 12 billion dollars in funding.
In South Carolina, PPP loans reportedly saved nearly 658-thousand jobs.
US Congress now working to revamp the PPP loan program, debating changes that would address some of the biggest pitfalls and complaints.
Still, even with the trouble, stress, and waiting – the money was inevitably a saving grace for so many.
“Once it came, I completely forgot about all the stress I went through to get it because I was so grateful," Kaitlyn said.
The PPP loans forgiveness portal just opened this week.
More information is available on the Small Business Association (SBA) website.
You can also read the SBA's list of loan forgiveness FAQs here.