Tens of thousands of small businesses across Oklahoma are using federal loans as a life-line during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Oklahomans received billions of dollars in federal paycheck protection program loans. The money is credited with saving thousands of jobs across northeastern Oklahoma.
The Tulsa Regional Chamber says 35,000 small businesses in the state received these PPP loans. For some companies that money kept them from having to close.
Cole Cunningham is the owner of Mythic Press in Tulsa. He says when news started going around about the federal loans for small businesses, they jumped into action to apply.
"We were ready to roll, locked and loaded," Cunningham said.
The shirt design and print company had just filled staff roles in preparation for their busiest season. Cunningham says the more than $60,000 loan they got is helping them keep all 13 of their employees paid and working.
"It's a big load off for sure, but it doesn't exactly fix the problem. We're still dealing with a really challenged economy, and a lot less demand than we had just 30 days ago," Cunningham said.
The Tulsa Regional Chamber says $4.6 billion in PPP loans were given to 35,000 Oklahoma small businesses. It's a billion dollars more than what the U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimated would go to Oklahoma companies in the first stimulus package.
"Oklahomans were very quick to take advantage of this program, and proportionately the loans and amount of loans that Oklahomans received exceeded our size ranked by other states," Tulsa Regional Chamber Senior Vice President of Governmental Affairs Elizabeth Osburn said.
Osburn says they don't have a specific number of Tulsa businesses helped by the loans yet -- but they believe more than 21,000 small businesses in the metro area were eligible. She says although there are some issues for banks to iron out, they've heard many success stories, like Cunningham's.
"Small business retail, restaurants, insurance companies, some smaller manufacturers that have been able to keep their small staffs employed so they can continue to weather the storm," Osburn said.
You can find details about the next wave of small business loans here.