Business Elevated Podcast (Episode 37)
This podcast series features business and government leaders discussing what it’s like to live and work in the great state of Utah. This episode includes a conversation between Ryan Starks, managing director of business services at GOED, and David Carlebach, vice president of international investment at the World Trade Center Utah.
Welcome to the Business Elevated Podcast, where we discuss what it’s like to live and work in the great state of Utah. Did you know Utah is frequently ranked the best state for business by Forbes? This podcast is a production of the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development. Thanks for joining the conversation.
Ryan Starks: (0:21) Welcome to the Business Elevated podcast. I’m Ryan Starks, the managing director of business services at GOED. There’ve been some changes and updates to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan program that we’ll discuss today with David Carlebach, the vice president of international investment at the World Trade Center Utah.
David, how are you today?
David Carlebach: (0:42) I’m doing great, Ryan. Thank you very much for having me. I’m eager to share more information about the PPP program and have a discussion with you today.
Ryan Starks: (0:50) Thanks for joining us today and spending a few moments discussing this important program.
But before we jump in, David, I’d love to get to know you a little better. Tell us where you’re from. Tell us a little bit about your background, and what led you to join the World Trade Center Utah team?
David Carlebach: (1:07) Excellent. Well, thanks for asking Ryan. I am originally from Michigan. I have lived all over the world in Michigan, Texas, Germany and New York. I came to Utah in 2000 with Goldman Sachs and helped open the office.
I spent 20 plus years of my life at Goldman Sachs, a good part of that helping to build out the office here in Utah. I recently decided to leave Goldman and look for something else here in Utah that was dynamic, interesting, and where I’d have a chance to give back. This opportunity at the World Trade Center really intrigued me.
It’s been a great opportunity to work with people like you and other leaders in the community and make Utah an even stronger and better place for my kids to grow up.
Ryan Starks: (1:53) I’m always amazed by how much talent we have in the state. It seems like we have so many great people who have ended up here for one reason or another.
So prior to joining Goldman, had you ever been to Utah?
David Carlebach: (2:06) Actually, I had not. I didn’t even associate it with the church to be honest. I came out with a very small group, three or four people, looking for office space because the firm intended to open an office here.
I was just blown away by the beauty of the mountains and the opportunity I saw. I went back and raised my hand and said after we find space, I’d be willing to move out here and help lead the office. That worked like a charm. It was the beginning of a great 20 year run at Goldman here in Utah.
Ryan Starks: (2:41) That’s great. I think it’s really telling that as your tenure with Goldman came to an end, you probably had opportunities elsewhere. We’re certainly glad you decided to keep Utah your home and glad to have you as part of the World Trade Center Utah team.
David Carlebach: (2:56) Glad to be here.
Ryan Starks: (2:59) Speaking of the World Trade Center Utah, how is it working with Utah companies to overcome some of these really unique economic challenges from COVID-19?
David Carlebach: (3:09) It’s been very rewarding. I hope that the companies have felt that we’ve been helpful too. The PPP program, in particular, the paycheck protection program is a federal program through the Small Business Administration. It has been a wonderful tool. I think nationally and certainly here in Utah to help small businesses overcome the challenges of the lockdown. It’s been one of the kinds of things I was looking to do to give back and help.
I don’t think there are really many things I’ve done that have made a clear contribution back to the economy and the businesses here in Utah.
Ryan Starks: (2:49) Well, that’s great. How are you reaching these companies? How do they learn about programs, like the PPP and other services, the World Trade Center Utah’s offers?
David Carlebach: (3:59) The PPP program has been talked about a lot, from the very top from the president on down, as a program that was designed to help small businesses during this lockdown. It’s part of the CARES Act. The state-organized the governor’s economic recovery task force, which is a collection of government, business and civic leaders trying to help the state recover from COVID-19. Miles Hanson, the head of the World Trade Center, led one of the working groups within that task force, the federal programs working group, designed specifically to help ensure that Utah takes full advantage of the federal programs.
And as I said, the PPP program is really the anchor program within the federal response. That working group has really been active in getting the word out to different communities, and through the banking channels as well that the program exists for small businesses.
We’ve also created a specific group within that working group called the rapid response team that answers a hotline. We’ve been able to reach or help over 2,000 businesses with their specific questions on the programs.
Ryan Starks: (5:19) Wow. I know you, and so many others are working tirelessly to help with this economic recovery.
If somebody wanted to learn more about the World Trade Center, Utah, whether it’s for PPP help or just more about your programs, where would you point them?
David Carlebach: (5:36) I think the best place to go to is coronavirus.utah.gov/business. That is the website that the economic recovery task force created.
On that site, there is information on all kinds of programs, including the PPP program, to help businesses across the state recover.
Ryan Starks: (6:02) That’s great. So just to be clear that it was coronavirus.utah.gov.
David Carlebach: (6:07) That’s correct.
Ryan Starks: (6:09) Awesome. Let’s go back to the PPP program. You highlighted a little bit of it, but I just wanted to point out a few more things. More than 50,000 PPP loans have been awarded to companies that account for more than $5.2 billion on going back to the economy. Also, an estimated 93% of small business payroll in Utah was covered by PPP loans. That’s been a great thing. I think, you know, Utah’s economy was humming. The engine was clicking on all cylinders, and then COVID-19 set in. I think this caught many of our businesses off guard. The PPP has really been a lifesaver for many of these companies.
What else is there? Can you tell us a little bit more about the PPP in terms of the upcoming deadline? Is this a program that’s going to go away anytime soon?
David Carlebach: (7:05) Thanks for that. It has really been a successful program. I’d like before I talk about deadlines and how to apply, also remind everyone that the PPP program is a loan program. The loans, if used as intended, can be up to 100% forgiven.
That’s really the expectation. They are loans technically, but they could become grants. You can see how impactful these grants could be to help companies through this period. The program was funded with hundreds of billions of dollars, and there are still, per the last report I saw, over a hundred billion dollars left.
There was a concern early on that all the money would be lent out before the program ended. The good news is there’s still money left, and they have extended the deadlines from the original deadlines all the way out to August 8th. So companies that have not yet applied still have until August 8th to apply. They would do that through their bank. If they need help finding a bank, they could go to the website we talked about just a second ago. They have until August 8th to apply.
It should be noted that all types of businesses can apply and this is not just for big businesses or even small businesses that employ people. It can be for sole proprietors and contract employees, like Uber drivers, etc. They’re all eligible to apply and receive funding.
Ryan Starks: (8:38) That’s great. I think that’s been one of the misnomers. My business is too small, or I don’t qualify because I have contracted employees. But what you’re saying is that’s not the case, correct?
David Carlebach: (8:51) That is one of the points of confusion is the company that pays contractors cannot apply to get money to cover the contracts. However, the contractor themselves can apply. I don’t know if we have said it yet, but the basis for the loan is that you receive two and a half times your monthly payroll. If an independent contractor were receiving $5,000 a month, say in contracted fees, they would be able to apply for a $12,500 loan, which could become a grant; if they fulfill the loan conditions.
That’s true for contractors or sole proprietors. For example, hairdressers or real estate agents, perhaps, also have a way to apply and receive a loan that would cover the money that they effectively are paying themselves.
Ryan Starks: (9:53) That’s great. So you brought up a couple of really interesting points that I just want to highlight.
First, the deadline is August 8th, so that’s coming up quickly. There’s still money to be issued and that a business can go to a Utah based bank for more information. My understanding is we have multiple banks and financial institutions that lend the PPP money. Is that correct?
David Carlebach: (10:19) That is correct. It can be a brick and mortar bank. Or it can be an online bank. There are online banks that operate nationwide. But many of the online national banks are based in Utah. And so you can, you can do your business with a Utah company online as well.
Ryan Starks: (10:36) Great. Well, that’s very helpful. So with this August 8th deadline approaching, how can companies receive assistance with their PPP applications?
David Carlebach: (10:48) In the end, they will need to work with a bank as we just said. If they need help to find a bank or have questions before they approach a bank or, generally, about the program, they can reach out to the rapid response team. We take web-based inquiries, and the inquiry form can be found at coronavirus.utah.gov/business.
That’s the page within the coronavirus.utah.gov website. On that page is a big yellow button that says ‘Submit help request.’ That’s the yellow button you’re looking for, and you’ll be able to fill in a form, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible to help you with your questions.
Ryan Starks: (11:33) So, between the support of the banks and the support of the rapid response team, there are plenty of resources out there to help our small businesses. Just to highlight that link one more time: coronavirus.utah.gov/business.
David, how many people are on this rapid response team? Are we talking about a couple of interns, or are these people who have experience in working with businesses and know their stuff?
David Carlebach: (12:00) t’s a team of volunteers. Many of them are very experienced who come from the economic development community. I think they do know their stuff and are very professional. We peaked with a team that was probably 20 plus people, but volume for applications and volume for inquiries are down. So we’ve adjusted the team accordingly, but they’ve been very effective. We’ve got an excellent response from the business community in terms of how helpful the team has been.
I agree with your premise that there are resources out there to help. And I strongly encourage companies who have questions to reach out and try to find out this might be a program that will really help those companies get through this period.
Ryan Starks: (12:39) That’s great. And everything I’ve heard has been similar in terms of just the response from your team.
It’s been really awesome to see so many people volunteer their time to help support our local businesses. What’s the turnaround time that a business can expect a response.
David Carlebach: (12:55) We’re trying to get responses back within 24 to 36 hours. We don’t have a big backlog. I think the only time that we weren’t able to do that is when we were kind of overloaded with inquiries.
I think if they inquire, they could get a response the same day or by the next day.
Ryan Starks: (13:09) That’s wonderful. David, thank you so much for taking the time to visit with me today and to discuss the PPP program. Just to kind of recap, all small businesses, sole proprietors and independent contractors are highly encouraged to apply for this funding.
David Carlebach: (13:41) You’re very welcome. Same to you.
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