The U.S. Small Business Administration in consultation with the U.S. Treasury Department announced that the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) re-opens the week of January 11 for new borrowers and certain existing PPP borrowers.

To promote access to capital, initially only community financial institutions will be able to make First Draw PPP Loans on Monday, January 11, and Second Draw PPP Loans on Wednesday, January 13. The PPP will open to all participating lenders shortly thereafter.

This round of the PPP continues to prioritize millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $284B toward job retention and certain other expenses through March 31, 2021, and by allowing certain existing PPP borrowers to apply for a Second Draw PPP Loan.

Key updates include:
• Borrowers can set their loan covered period to be any length between 8 & 24 weeks to best meet their needs
• Loans will cover additional expenses, including operations expenditures, property damage costs, supplier costs, & worker protection expenditures
• The Program’s eligibility is expanded to include 501(c)(6)s, housing cooperatives, direct marketing organizations, among other types of organizations
• Greater flexibility for seasonal employees
• Certain existing PPP borrowers can request to modify their First Draw PPP Loan amount
• Certain existing PPP borrowers are now eligible to apply for a Second Draw PPP Loan

A borrower is generally eligible for a Second Draw PPP Loan if the borrower:
• Previously received a First Draw PPP Loan and will or has used the full amount only for authorized uses
• Has no more than 300 employees; and
• Can demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020

Read full guidance here.
This workshop will help you Identify changes to the Paycheck Protection Program First Draw and the Paycheck Protection Program Second Draw Loan Programs; provide updates to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advances, and present an overview of the Shuttered Venue Operators Guidance.

This event is FREE to attend however, pre-registration is REQUIRED.

The most recent COVID stimulus bill provides $15 BILLION in grants for shuttered live performance venues that will be awarded through the SBA.

Section 324: Grants for Shuttered Venue Operators.
• Authorizes $15 billion for the SBA to make grants to eligible live venue operators or promoters, theatrical producers, live performing arts organization operators, museum operators, motion picture theatre operators, or talent representatives who demonstrate a 25 percent reduction in revenues.

The Tennessee SBDC office has not seen what the application will look like and other eligibility requirements, BUT encourages ANY business who may qualify as a venue to contact them so they can get them registered in their system and get started early when the application for funding is open.
A GUIDE has been prepared by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to help businesses understand the changes to the new & additional PPP Funding included in the aid package.

The KEY thing to know is that businesses who previously took advantage of the program will be eligible for a second round of loans. Also, 501c06 organizations are now eligible to apply.

Join us January 15 from 9-10:30 a.m. for this free webinar from David Horsewood entitled, "Impactful Storytelling." This training helps people develop the courage and confidence to expressively be themselves while telling their stories. It’s wonderfully freeing, and it shows. REGISTER HERE.

  • Learn how to immediately engage people and keep their attention.
  • Become skilled at concisely sharing relevant stories supporting your purpose.
  • Have body language that enhances your message instead of sabotaging it.
  • Be able to adjust your content when having more or less time than expected.
  • Own the moment instead of being swallowed up by it.

Who benefits from this kind of training? Past sessions have included business owners, sales professionals, managers and team leaders, people in fundraising and development, missions and ministry folks, presenters and trainers, job seekers and more.
The Chamber's 23rd Annual “Operation Thank You” is being held March 29-April 1.

It’s a New Year and we would love for your business to participate in this annual event. For $200 you can send us one SWAG (SWAG stands for Stuff We All Get) promotional item, gift card, gift certificate or promotional piece not to exceed 8 ½” x 11"

Multiple items can be sent for $200 each. We will distribute this material to all chamber members for you.

Please contact Amy Lawson at if you would like to participate. All items must be delivered to the chamber office by Thursday, February 18.
Join United Way of Blount County January 22 at noon, via Facebook Live for its 2021 Annual Meeting, virtual style!

You'll hear from leaders on its Board of Directors and staff as it recognizes new and retiring board members, present community awards and gives an update on the state of United Way. And you can't have an annual meeting without reminiscing with some photos and music!

Be sure to RSVP by clicking here so you'll be reminded of the event as it gets closer! *You don't need a Facebook account to view the live event.
Learn about the hiring landscape, job opportunities and how employment experiences in the creative and production communities have shifted during COVID-19 and what we can expect looking ahead in 2021. This session is well-suited for job seekers, hiring managers and business owners in ascertaining the business climate. Career opportunities will be discussed along with advice on how to best prepare for workforce needs. This virtual event is presented by Pellissippi State Community College.

January 22 from 12:30-2 p.m.
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 on January 19 at 2 p.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.
Since 1982, Martin Luther King Jr. Day/Weekend in Blount County has brought prominent speakers and performers to our celebrations, introduced new issues and perspectives to attendees, and brought people together in important and inspiring ways.

Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 weekend celebration cannot include the events our community looks forward to attending every year, but we do plan to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy on Monday, January 18, with a schedule that prioritizes the health and safety of participants.

We ask that you put these events on your calendar and make plans to participate:
  • The MLK Day march will start at 12:45 p.m. at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center on Franklin Street in Alcoa. Marchers will process southeast on Hall Road toward Washington Street, taking a right onto East Lamar Alexander Parkway and ending at the Greenbelt Pavilion near the Blount County Courthouse. Assembly for the march will begin at 12:30 p.m.
  • Following the march, a brief program will be held at the West Theatre in the Park next to the pavilion. At this program, which will begin at 2 p.m., the MLK Day Celebration Committee will recognize the march’s grand marshal and the recipients of the Anthony Dunnings Community Service Award and the MLK Celebration Scholarship presented by DENSO Manufacturing.

Participants will be required to follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines for virus mitigation, including physical distancing and wearing face coverings. A limited number of masks will be provided.
Believe it or not, people still use paper maps.

That's why the Blount County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to be partnering with the award-winning marketing and cartographic team of Town Square Publications to produce our Community Street Map and Resource Guide. This publication will help you market your business directly to area business owners, new residents and visitors for the next 18-24 months. Over 10,000 copies will be distributed via the Chamber of Commerce and through 150+ high traffic distribution points.

Advertising your business and our community via this print and online publication is very economical, but space is limited. A Town Square Publications representative will be contacting you soon but please don’t hesitate to reach your representative by calling the sales and marketing team directly at (865) 221-8877 or email to review the details and options.
The January 29 edition of soft skills classes offered by the Blount County Public Library is quickly approaching.

This Zoom Webinar session is entitled "Networking Strategically." Build a network that is beneficial and strategic. Learn how to avoid networking traps and break out of the mold in order to advance project and professional goals.

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.

The Tennessee Small Business Development Center is hosting a myriad of online training webinars to assist you in all facets of your businesses. Take advantage of training opportunities with the SBDC at no cost.

January 19 from 9-10:30 a.m.
January 27 form 9-10:30 a.m. ($29)
Would you like to learn how to engage your audience, communicate clearly, and feel confident while leading virtual presentations?
Join a FREE Grow With Google workshop on January 15 at 10 a.m. to help you grow your small business. REGISTER HERE

Learn how to manage work and life tasks more effectively using Google tools. Whether you want to build a budget, create a meeting agenda or organize your priorities, these best practices will boost your productivity.

In this session you will learn how to:
• Use templates in Google Sheets to build a personalized to-do list
• Use templates in Google Docs to create a meeting agenda
January 11-17
January 13 -- Maximize Your Membership

January 18-24

Save the Date

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
Topping the Billboard Hot 100 this week in 1989 was "My Prerogative" by Bobby Brown. It was written by Brown as a response to the criticism he received for his departure from New Edition. He explained the song was about making decisions in one's life and not caring about other people's judgment. "My Prerogative" is often considered as new jack swing.