How the CARES Act Benefits Women and Women-Owned Businesses

Breanne M. Rubin

women viewing computer   The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was enacted on March 27, 2020, to provide approximately $2 trillion worth of financial assistance to individuals, businesses and health care systems affected by COVID-19. Some sections of the act require that money be allocated to specific types of businesses or businesses with certain ownership characteristics. As this article will discuss, women-owned businesses and businesses that support women are among the groups that will receive funding. 

   The first aspect of the CARES Act benefitting women, and women-owned businesses in particular, is the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The PPP provides forgivable loans of up to $10,000,000 to small businesses. Section 1102 of the act indicates that lenders and agents that process and disburse PPP loans should prioritize certain small business concerns. Among those small businesses to be given priority are those owned by women. Learn more about the PPP in another article.

   The CARES Act also recognizes women’s business center programs in its Sections 1103 and 1105. Under the act, $48 million dollars in grants will be directed to women’s business centers providing education, training, and advising to small businesses experiencing challenges in supply chain distributions, staffing, a decrease in gross receipts or customers, or closure as a result of COVID-19. The grants may be used to assist affected small businesses in applying for federal resources, making arrangements related to telework and taking steps to prevent the communication and transmission of COVID-19. In addition, the act waives the requirement that women’s business center programs receiving federal financial assistance also obtain non-federal contributions for the three months following enactment, i.e., non-federal contributions are no longer required during this period. 

   Finally, section 4024 of the act temporarily offers protection for housing programs covered by the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 from being evicted or penalized for nonpayment of rent. These housing programs exist to protect victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. 

   To learn more about these opportunities for women-owned businesses and businesses supporting women under the CARES Act, contact one of our business attorneys.

   Anna L. Crisp, a law clerk with Eastman & Smith who is finishing her third year at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, contributed to this article.



At the date of publication the above information was correct.  It is quite possible the information above has changed as COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving situation. 

The article in this publication has been prepared by Eastman & Smith Ltd. for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney/client relationship.