UPDATED PPP FORGIVENESS INFO
The SBA said it will launch a new platform for submitting PPP loan-forgiveness applications and decisions to the agency. The agency said the PPP Forgiveness Platform will go live and begin accepting lender submissions on Monday, Aug. 10.

To receive PPP loan forgiveness, a borrower must complete and submit the Loan Forgiveness Application (SBA Form 3508 , 3508EZ , or Lender equivalent) to its Lender (or the Lender servicing its loan). 1 A borrower may submit a Loan Forgiveness Application before the end of the 8-week or 24-week covered period, provided that the borrower has used all of the loan proceeds for which the borrower is requesting forgiveness and the borrower’s loan forgiveness application accounts for any salary reductions in excess of 25 percent for the full covered period.

$150M RELIEF FUNDS FOR NON-PROFITS
Today Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group announced $150 million in Coronavirus Relief Funds will be made available to Tennessee non-profits to assist their ongoing efforts to address the ongoing health and economic impacts of COVID-19.

For non-profits wishing to receive response and recovery grants to provide direct services, instructions for grant proposals will be issued by the Department of Human Services and its partner non-profit grant administrators on August 1, 2020. Grant applications will be processed on a first-come, first-serve basis with monthly reporting requirements and a de-obligation date of November 15. MORE DETAILS .
IN-PERSON POLITICAL POP-IN CANCELED
Due to issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Blount Partnership has decided to convert the Political Pop-In from an in-person event to a candidate video series.
 
The Political Pop-In was scheduled for Tuesday, July 28 from 9-11 a.m. at the Blount Partnership.

This event, formerly known as Pigs and Politics Legislative Day, is an opportunity for political candidates and officeholders to meet with constituents in a laid-back atmosphere with casual conversation.

“Unfortunately, with COVID-19 numbers climbing and the uncertainty about the safety of in-person events, the decision was made not to move forward with this event in its current form,” said Blount Partnership President Bryan Daniels. 
 
It is important to the Blount Partnership that candidates that are on the August 6 ballot have every opportunity to get their message out to the public. Because of this, we will allow candidates on the ballot the opportunity to record a 2-3 minute message about their platforms and what they plan to accomplish if elected, and we will disseminate these messages through social media, email and www.BlountChamber.com .
 
“We are disappointed that both candidates and officeholders will not get the opportunity to mingle with their constituents in person but look forward to continuing this event in-person again in the future,” added Daniels. 
FIRST TAX-FREE WEEKEND JULY 31-AUG. 2
For 2020 only, the Tennessee General Assembly has approved two sales tax holiday weekends to help Tennesseans save money and support the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first tax-free holiday weekend focuses on clothing and other back-to-school items. It begins at 12:01 a.m. on Friday July 31 and ends 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 2. Qualifying items include clothing, school supplies, computers and other qualifying electronic devices. Certain price restrictions apply. Consumers must purchase items for personal use, not business or trade.
The second sales tax holiday weekend focuses on restaurant sales. It begins at 12:01 a.m. on Aug. 7 and ends 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 9. During this time the retail sale of food and drink by restaurants and limited service restaurants, as defined in Tenn. Code Ann. § 57-4-102, is exempt from sales tax.    
    
For more information about the sales tax holiday weekends, visit www.tntaxholiday.com
The Summit is an opportunity to network with and engage business leaders from across East Tennessee. Imagine many of the things you enjoy at in-person conferences: engaging speakers, practical seminars, expanding your business network with professionals outside of your area, vendor booths (and swag!). 

Now imagine all those things in a virtual platform. The Summit is our response to a changing world. Most in-person large conferences are projected to be postponed until late 2021. The lack of large scale networking and educational opportunities has added to the weight many businesses are feeling during this time. Join hundreds of other professionals from the East Tennessee Region for our area’s first virtual conference and trade show.

As a Blount Chamber member, you can receive a $100 discount
for vendor registration.
Use Code: blountsummit2020
MAXIMIZE WITH US
Learn more about the Blount Chamber and the many opportunities that go along with being a member. Learn how to make the most of the benefits afforded to you by joining our webinar Tuesday, August 11, 2020 10-11:30 a.m.

Register in advance for this meeting

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

R E M E M B E R !
Your membership is a corporate membership. Please encourage co-workers to get involved, educated, network and promote your company via Blount Chamber events and opportunities.
EXPERIENCE VIRTUAL NETWORKING
The Blount Chamber is hosting AM Connect on Friday, August 14 at 8:15 a.m., sponsored by  Ullrich Print Plus .

For those who have never participated in an online meeting, here's some useful tips.
  • Please include your name and company name
  • Use the option to meet others in a small group setting by participating in our breakout rooms
  • Limited to 100 guests

Housekeeping Items:
  • Keep microphone muted when you aren’t speaking
  • Raise your hand (virtually) for a turn
  • Chat is available for questions
  • Look into the camera instead of looking at yourself talking on the screen 

Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
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INTERESTED IN SPONSORING A VIRTUAL COFFEE CLUB?
If you've been wanting to host a coffee and the waiting list was too long, why not get on the list to sponsor one of our virtual coffee clubs? 

Benefits of attending virtual networking:
  • Meet others that you may not have met at an in-person coffee.
  • Extend your reach outside of driving area.
  • Meet members located outside the county.
  • Multiple opportunities to meet others in smaller group breakout rooms.

Dates for future virtual coffee clubs are: October 9, November 13 and December 11.

Contact Jessica Hahn at jhahn@blountpartnership.com  
EARLY VOTING IS UNDERWAY
Early voting the August 6 primary which includes the State Primary, County General, Friendsville, & Townsend City Election continues until August 1.


COMPLETE THE CENSUS
Please complete the 2020 Census and we ask that your family and friends do the same. Blount County has a response rate of 67.8% which is below the 71.6% response rate in 2010.

The process is simple and can be completed online .

There are 12 easy questions and no citizenship questions.
Why is this important?
The 2020 Census will determine congressional representation, inform hundreds of billions in federal funding every year, and provide data that will impact communities for the next decade.
SOFT SKILLS RETURNS
The August 21 edition of soft skills classes offered by the Blount County Public Library is quickly approaching.

This Zoom Webinar session is entitled "Empowering and Motivating Employees." Here, you will learn to empower employees and enable better performance. Learn strategies to help employees be their best.

All participants will earn .5 CEUs per session for participating. They will also receive an email survey two months after workshop participation to assess application of new ideas.

WEBINAR CALENDAR
EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATIONS & HUMAN RELATIONS
July 29 from 9-10:30 a.m.
Virtual Selling: How to Build Relationships Online
Are you looking for ways to make virtual connections, book more meetings, and increase your sales numbers?
The Tennessee Small Business Development Center is hosting a myriad of online training webinars to assist you in all facets of your businesses. Take a gander at the upcoming events for July.
 

July 28 from 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
Learn how surety bonds help small businesses win contracts by providing the customer with a guarantee that the work will be completed. Come hear how to get positioned for federal, state and local government contracting as well as other purchasing activities. 
 
July 30 from noon - 1 p.m.
WHAT'S HAPPENING?
TENNESSEE PLEDGE
As businesses reopen across the state, Tennessee’s Economic Recovery Group released guidance for businesses . The Tennessee Pledge guidelines recommend capacity limits, spacing requirements, and frequent sanitization, among others.
 
The full guidance offered by the state can be  found here as well as printable guidelines .
BE SURE YOU'RE FOLLOWING US
If you aren't following us on social media, you must. We are constantly updating information as each day progresses. So, give us a like and stay up-to-date as we move through this crisis.
 
 
And follow tourism updates here:
Here's a great way to offer Member-to-Member deals using your chamber member account. Check the deals .

Members can post Coupons and Discounts to this page at no charge.  Click Here
REMEMBER WHEN
Topping the Billboard Top 100 this week in 1975 was "The Hustle" by Van McCoy and the Soul City Symphony. It would eventually sell over one million copies. The song won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance.
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