After decades of education, hard labor, planning, and an entire life savings…COVID 19 effectively wiped out our company…virtually overnight!
3D Improvements LLC (sole proprietorship) was the lifelong dream of owner, Mr. Dawson. He poured countless hours, days, weeks, (hell, months and years) of his life into his creation. In 2016, he was finally able to see his efforts come to fruition! He built his OWN machine shop, which was really more of a garage, in his driveway and began acquiring used industrial machinery. Mr. Dawson literally depleted his own savings in order to start his company independently and not ask for any handouts or loans. He worked tirelessly rebuilding these old, mostly nonfunctional machines and by the end of 2017, he had a fully functional machine shop! We successfully completed several contracts with local companies, landing two major accounts!
The company we received regular orders from closed it’s doors temporarily in early March in response to Ohio Covid regulations. Our orders and revenue abruptly ceased! We felt great relief that the US Government was coming to the rescue of small businesses like 3D Improvements. I personally submitted an application for the EIDL loan in March, on the first day it opened on the SBA website. I then had to reapply in April when they changed the application format. After about a month and a half of waiting, we received a mysterious deposit of $2,000. We were hopeful that all businesses would be receiving the full $10,000 grant as some sources speculated. Either way, we were over the moon grateful for the deposit.
This afternoon we received a gut wrenching email that stated we had been denied for the EIDL loan portion. There was no reason provided. They hadn’t even taken the time or given our company the respect to submit a separate, formal email. The representative/lender simply replied to a previous email we sent to [firstname.lastname@example.org](mailto:email@example.com):
“Thank you for contacting the U.S. Small Business Administration Customer Service Center regarding assistance related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic.
After a thorough review of your application, we regret we were unable to approve your request for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). If you disagree with the decision made on your loan, you may request reconsideration, subject to the availability of funds.”
I have requested to be given a written “reason for denial” as well as an opportunity to appeal the SBA’s decision. We offered collateral for any loan awarded to us, even if it is less than $25,000. The company we depended upon for part orders, is still not fully operational and will not yet be purchasing from any outside sources. We have approvals (DLA, JCP, etc.) and staffing capabilities (currently not “employed” but quick access to skilled machinists) to bid on government contracts, however we now do not have the financial reserve to purchase the CNC we need to manufacture products to the quality level required by the U.S. government. We even have a small 3D printer and have considered assembling face masks to aid in PPE relief efforts. However, we can not afford the filament and materials that would be required to do this. We were actually contemplating spending our entire EIDG grant to purchase a Makerbot Replicator Z18 because there was one listed at such a great rate and doing so would allow us to supply at least the local community with face shield/masks and we could still utilize the 3D printer if we were ever able to open back up.
Feeling pretty hopeless. Losing hope in the “American Dream” that we’ve all been sold our whole lives. To me, this proves that hard work and sacrifice does not prevail. Big business prevails. Any words of advice or encouragement would be appreciated.
Has anyone heard of an SBA denial being overturned through appeal? Any secret sources of funding out there that we may have missed? We have tried SBA, PTAC, SCORE and SBDC without much luck. These organizations are terrific assets but they only seem to offer assistance with getting started, obtaining registrations and governments “numbers”, etc. We have already done all of this on our own. At this point we just need to secure funding in order to jump start the shop, upgrade our machinery, pay a machinist, etc.
Thank you for receiving the vent/rant. American small businesses have to stick together through this! I hope others out there are having better luck during this trying time.
Disclaimer: This is a guest post and it doesn’t necessarily represent the views of IWB.