Who got the money from the first round of PPP funding?

IMPORTANT UPDATE FOR 2021: Congress has approved an extension of the PPP loan program. SBA will accept applications until May 31, 2021, including “second draw” PPP loans for businesses that received PPP funding in 2020. 

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was so popular, it ran out of its initial funding on April 16th, 2020, and Congress voted to refund it with an additional $300 billion in the summer of 2020. Since the COVID-19 pandemic’s immense devastation to small businesses continues into 2021, Congress voted for an additional relief package in December 2020, which renewed the PPP loan program and extended the deadline for application. Since then, President Biden has signed into law the PPP Extension Act of 2021, which effectively moves the deadline for PPP applications to May 31, 2021.

We’ve been helping small businesses across the country, and of all shapes and sizes, apply for this program. We’ve celebrated with those who received much-needed funds, and we’ve felt the frustration of those who are still waiting.

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One of the top questions on many business owners minds — especially those still waiting on PPP money — is, “where’d the PPP money go?”

Let’s find out.

What types of businesses got most of the first round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans?

On Friday, April 16, the SBA disclosed a summary of the initial phase of the Paycheck Protection Program. Here’s a high level view of what they announced:

  • Total number of approved loans: 1,661,367
  • Total dollars loaned: $342 billion

And here’s a breakdown of which industries got most of the money:

Construction businesses got the largest percentage, at 13%. Professional, scientific and technical service businesses, manufacturing businesses, and health care and social assistance businesses all also got more than 10% of available funds each.

This gives us a good idea of which types of businesses got most of the first round of PPP funding, but it doesn’t tell us what size of business got the lion’s share of the first round of funding.

And a lot of business owners want to know, did most of the initial PPP round go to the big guys, the little guys, or both?

Did big businesses or small businesses get most of the initial PPP funds?

One way to determine what size of business got most of the initial round of the Paycheck Protection Program is to examine the size of the loans distributed.

Because loan size was primarily determined by average monthly payroll costs, you can safely assume that the larger the loan size, the larger the company receiving it.

Most of the total issued loans, by far, appeared to go to smaller businesses. 1.2 million loans (or 74% of all loans) were for $150,000 or less. Meanwhile, only 4% of issued loans were for $1 million or more.

But that’s only half of the story of the figures above. While the vast majority of loans were issued to smaller businesses, total funds appear to be distributed more evenly across small, medium, and larger businesses.

The largest percentage of PPP went to loans appeared to go to medium-sized businesses, as nearly a quarter of all funds went to loans between $350 thousand and $1 million.

And while loans of $1 million or more  may have only taken 4% of issued loans, they made up 44.5% of all available funds.

The overall average loan size, according to the SBA report, was $206,000.

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