For those of you who did not hear, the inaugural High School Student Pitch Competition Finals on December 11th at Level Two Inc with a group of selected students pitching their business ideas in front of a panel of live judges.  We opened this up to the public and tickets were available to anyone at the price of a donation, however big or small, and we had close to 30 spectators present for the entire competition.
This competition was open to High School students who reside in or attend High School in Hendricks County. We had over 20 registrants from 4 different school systems. To get here, the teams competing in the Finals have already put together a short video pitch and slide show presentation.  These videos and slide decks were reviewed and scored, and those with the top scores moved on to the Live Final at Level Two.
During the live final, the student teams each had a 5-10 minute presentation where they will discuss different aspects of their business or business idea, which could have included up to 20 slides. This information included:
-Mission Statement
-What the Business will Provide
-Target Market
-Market and Competitive Analysis
-Funding Sources
-Financial Feasibility
-They were also judged on their professionalism, business etiquette, and how organized their presentation was.
The winning team received a $1000 award for them to use as Seed Money for their startup or for college expenses.
First Pitch was Daisy Lookabill with her company Clayton Motor Sports!  A motor sports compound concept that would provide dirt bike and atv races, training, and a camp ground in Clayton, Indiana.
May be an image of 2 people and people standing
2nd Pitch was Abbey Kelley with Refit for Hope! A nonprofit that works on receiving and donating used clothes. Already has delivered clothes to Nicaragua.
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3rd Pitch was Neva Verbik with Up-Town Gardens. A roof-top garden concept that grows and harvests produce on local rooftops and then sells the produce.
May be an image of 2 people and people standing
4th Pitch was Rachel Spear and Fernanda Bullon-Valer with The Flower House. They are already in business and they are a floral and chocolate shop that is looking for a physical location and aims to employ stay at home moms.
May be an image of 4 people, people standing and text that says 'We create unique arrangements for any special occasion lltreat other flower womer creating flexible work schedule'
Pitch #5 was Julia McJunkin with Leur, a sustainable clothing company concept that aims to reimagine sizing and make clothes that help to better fit all body types.
May be an image of 2 people and people standing
6th Pitch was Camden Zetty with Created by Camden, a marketing material and design company that makes higher quality promotional material for small businesses and organizations and has already had over 20 clients and has made over $10,000 in 6 months!
May be an image of 4 people, people standing and indoor
Our 7th and final pitch was Kylie Harris with Sweet Twist Cafe. A bricks and mortar bakery concept that provides baked goods while bringing in a foreign twist by highlighting food from a different region every week.
May be an image of 4 people and people standing
The judges were allowed to ask the students questions for 5 minutes after their pitch was finished.  Kylie Harris brought some delicious brownies for everyone to taste and The Flower House put together a beautiful arrangement with Level Two Coworking’s name in the middle.
After the students were all done pitching, the judges gathered together to discuss the pitches, and how they scored each of the students.  And while they were doing that, we took votes for the Crowd Favorite, which would win $500 courtesy of The Republican Newspaper.  Each person in attendance was tasked with voting for their favorite, second favorite and third favorite pitch.  Each first place vote earned the student 5 points, each second place vote earned the student 3 points and each third place vote earned the student 1 point.  When we tallied all of the votes, only 2 points separated first and second place, and every pitch had at least 20 points.
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After about 15 minutes of deliberation, the judges had come to a decision and Neil Metzger was ready to relay the winner of the competition.  The winner of the $1000 was Camden Zetty for his Pitch about his own business, Created by Camden.  The $500 Crowd Favorite award was won by Abby Kelley with her nonprofit startup Refit for Hope.
Thanks to the judges:
Bobby Williams from BGW Construction, LLC
Marcy Orr from Bankable
Alicia Mckoy from Peak Mind, LLC
Jerry Vornholt from The Republican

Thanks to all the participants and congrats again to the Winners.  This was a great event where we were able to hear from  some of our county’s awesome and entrepreneurial students, and we hope to build on this momentum next year!

Level Two wants to say a huge THANKS for everyone who participated in our Plainfield Pickleball Tournament supporting Level Two Inc Two this past Saturday. The weather did end up turning beautiful after the dreary start we had.

We want to give a huge shout out to everyone who pitched in to help us dry the courts and actually help us run the event from James Gordy, Dave Nichols, Dave Ellis, Jaime Murphy, to Jenifer Laver, and our Board Members, Justin Cook, Brad DuBois, IOM, and Lora Steele (She/ Her/ Hers). Plus many of the players who jumped in and grabbed a Leaf Blower, push boom or towel to help. There were a few curveballs thrown our way the actual week of the tournament, and Justin Cook deserves most of credit for actually pulling this thing off. One of the things I learned is that the Plainfield Pickleball Community is a pretty awesome group of people.

We also want to say a huge thank you to our Sponsors:
Town of Plainfield Parks & Recreation (Court Sponsor)
Athletico Physical Therapy (Table Sponsor)
Teresa Briggs Clark (Pickleball and Breakfast Sponsor)
Nichols Insurance Agency Inc. (David also Helped us Run the Event)
Duke Energy Corporation (who also sponsored water and goody bags)
Plainfield Chamber of Commerce
Harry Gill Insurance Advisors
The Law Office of Scott Knierim, LLC
The Coachman (Prize Sponsor)
Brew Link Brewing Company Plainfield (Prize Sponsor)

And Now for the Winners:
True Beginner: Bronson Germano barely outmatched Keisha Cooper who took Second via the tiebreaker.
Rookie (2.5) Melissa Sorrentino won followed closely by Lori Leineweber in second and then Mike Alfiera in a close third after the tiebreakers were accounted for.
3.0 – We had split winners of Jenny Nguyen Cook and Fred James even after a incredible playoff.
3.5 – David Nichols took home the hard fought prize.

Thanks again to all who participated and especially to all who pitched in to help make this event a success! Hopefully I did not forget anyone.


Pickleball SPonsors Pickleball Pickleball at Swinford Park Pickleball 3.5 Playing at Swinford Park Pickleball Winners Pickleball 2.5 Winner 3.0 Pickleball Winner Pickleball 3.5 Winner


On this edition of Coworker Corner, we introduce you to Tony Perona.  Tony is an author and an incredible community member.  He was the first Annual Member to join Level Two Coworking and was a ardent believer in our mission before we even had a space.

Tony’s main gig these days is writing books and short stories in the mystery genre as a solo author and with daughter Liz Dombrosky.  Together the team has published 7 published books as a part of 2 beloved series including the Bucket List Mysteries!  In addition to being co-author of the Bucket List mystery series, Tony writes the Nick Bertetto mystery series, authored the standalone thriller The Final Mayan Prophecy with Paul Skorich, and was co-editor and contributor to the anthologies Racing Can Be Murder and Hoosier Hoops & Hijinks. Tony is a member of Mystery Writers of America and has served the organization as a member of the Board of Directors and as Treasurer. He is also a member of Sisters-in-Crime.

Tony has also been gracious enough to give our readers access to “The Land Grab”, which is a short story from the Bucket List Mystery series.  You can find access to that short story here. 

Tony was a Guilford Township Board Member and actually served as the Deputy Town Manager of Plainfield for several years.  Currently, Tony is enjoying retired life where he seeks out adventures and hiking with his wife Debbie.  He also loves spending time with his grand children and volunteering at a food rescue operation and with his church.

If you would like to learn more about Tony and his writing, you can visit his website here.  

As many of you know, Level Two is more than just a Coworking Space, and with this in mind we have a series of programs that were created as a result of our Mission to foster entrepreneurship and cultivate growth in small business.  They start with some virtual events and end with what we hope is an in person student pitch competition.  These virtual events are just a small way to help some local small businesses to get some attention and a few additional sales.

Small Business Virtual Tastings/Experiences – This Winter

Virtual Tasting with Brew Link – February 25th at 6:30

We are having a live virtual beer tasting with two of the Brew Link Owners, Jess and Ruari Crabbe. Registration to this event comes with a 4-Pack of Brew Link Beer. We will discuss the 4 beers included in the purchase, a little bit about the brewing process and the ups and downs of their entrepreneurial journey. Join us for a great time with one of a kind access to one of Plainfield’s most popular businesses. Once you purchase the ticket, you can pick up your item at Brew Link starting February 22nd. The address is 4710 East, US-40, Plainfield, IN 46168.

Virtual Experience with Toy Buzz & Fizz – March 11th at 6:00

Join us for this live virtual experience with the Owner of Toy Buzz & Fizz right here in Plainfield. Registration to this event comes with a Lego set. We will discuss the Lego sets that are included with the ticket along with other things that the store offers plus Bob’s entrepreneurial journey. Choose the ticket of the item you would like to have and once your item is ordered, you can pick it up the week of the event! After you purchase the ticket, unless you chose delivery, you can pick up your item at Toy Buzz & Fizz at 119 N Vine St, Plainfield, IN 46168.

Tasting with Oasis Diner Virtually and at Level Two– April 8th at 6:00

Join us for this live tasting with the Owner of Oasis Diner right here in Plainfield. This event will be held at Level Two for up to 15 registrants and also includes a streaming option.  Registration to this event comes with a 4 pack of handcrafted soda and a slice of the Hoosier favorite, Sugar Cream Pie. We will discuss the handcrafted Sodas (root beer and butterscotch root beer) that are included with the ticket along with other things that Oasis offers plus Doug’s entrepreneurial journey. Once your item is ordered, you can pick it up the week of the event! After you purchase the ticket, unless you chose delivery, you can pick up your item at Oasis Diner 405 W Main St, Plainfield, IN 46168.

Small Business Accelerator – This Summer

Next we are planning a Small Business Accelerator that will take place this summer.  This class will meet evenings on a weekly basis over 8 weeks.  The goal of this class is to help startups, new and preventure businesses get the information necessary to build their business on a firm foundation.  This class will include guest speakers from local businesses and organizations and will include the following topics:

  1. Business Model Canvas
  2. Market research – What it is….What it does… How to obtain it… How to use it
  3. What Kind of legal structure should you choose
  4. INBIZ – Registering your business with the state and IRS.
  5. Marketing – Putting together a Marketing Plan
  6. Mentorships – why they are important (also we are planning on having mentors their and assigning a member of the cohort to the particular mentor)
  7. Cash Flow Forecasting and Business Funding Options
  8. Pitch Competition where all of the members of the Class will pitch their business to a panel with the chance to win money for their venture.

This class will have a cost of $200 and will be limited to a small group of applicants.  If you would like more information, you can fill out this form.

Entrepreneurship Summit – Fall

This is a summit we are hoping to have in-person in September or early October.  This summit will be a full day event held at Level Two where we will cover topics such as small business funding options, how to put together a Marketing Plan, how to teach your kids how to think creatively and more.  There will be breakout sessions with funding, accounting and legal experts as well as time to network with other local entrepreneurs.  We are still working on all of the details of this event so if there is a certain topic that you would like to see covered here, please let us know.

Student Shark Tank Pitch Competition – Winter of 2021

Our final event to be held in 2021 will be a Hendricks County wide pitch competition for our local high school students.  Our local students can join this competition as individuals or in teams of up to 3 and will pitch a business idea or an existing business, if a student already has one.  This event will take place over the late fall and early winter of 2021 and will culminate in what we hope to be a live pitch competition from the top finalists.  Our pitch competition will hopefully prepare our students for the State-wide pitch competition from Innovate WithIN.


While it is incredibly difficult to predict the future and when we will be able to participate in live events, we do believe that we should plan and hope for the best.  These events are just a small way we can help foster Entrepreneurship in Hendricks County, and if that is something that is important to you, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.  Level Two is a 501c3 nonprofit and are always looking for help in putting these events on.  If you are interested in partnering with Level Two in any of these events via Sponsorships or by helping us plan them, please email us at


4 Essential Steps in Starting a New Business

Many people decide to start their own business, as a way to follow their passion, be flexible in the ways they work and in control of how many hours they do. It is important, however, to note that having your own business will be a simple journey that requires little work from you.

Starting a business

You must be prepared to put in a lot of work, especially upfront when starting up the business. This can make the difference between a successful business that is able to expand, and a company that will result in a significant financial loss for you. In this article, we will discuss four essential steps in starting a new business, so that you are adequately prepared and more likely to achieve success.

1.  Research The Market

The very first thing you need to do is to research the market. This will provide you with an idea of any gaps in the industry as well as what competitors in the field already do. This will allow you to make a decision on what niche to focus on as well as identify your target audience so that you have more chances of building a successful business.

2.  Devise a Business Plan

Every business starts with an idea, but in order for you to bring it to life you must develop a business plan beforehand. This business plan should entail what your vision is for the business and what steps will be required of you to take in order to make your dream come true. This plan is very helpful as it will put a guide in place, which you can continuously change and adapt if needed.

3.  Consider Incorporating Your Business

There are different business structures you adapt to when starting your business. It is very important that you are aware of what these are so that you can make an informed decision on what you want. One of the most common structures include incorporating your business, which essentially comprises your company becoming a separate legal entity from you. This can be a complicated process filled with legalities and jargon and how you do it also depends on where you live. If you are planning on forming an LLC in Indiana, for example, you will need to consult with legal professionals in that area so that you follow the local rules and regulations.

4.  Decide on an Office Space

Having a business often requires a designated space where you can do this, even if your business is mainly done online. Working environment is imperative as it builds team spirit and efficiency. You do not have to have a lot of space, particularly as you first start your business. If you are lucky enough to have the financial means, look for office spaces in your area, that will be enough for what you require. Having this separate from your home will also increase the levels of positive balance between work and home life.

Remote Work

Building a new business is not always an easy journey, as there are many things to consider and you will be constantly learning and adapting. However, it can bring so many benefits to you if you follow the appropriate steps. This page should provide you with an overview of essential steps in starting a new business, so that you have higher chances of succeeding. 

Late on January 6th, the Treasury and SBA released the much anticipated guidance for the newly revised PPP.  We now have some timelines, applications and more to guide us through this second round.  If you are interested in the full versions directly from the SBA you can find it here for new PPP participants, and here for those looking to take a second draw, but follow along for a brief overview.  Also, while the initial program provided $525 billion in forgivable loans, this third round only has $284 billion available and only $35 billion is earmarked for first-time loans, with $15 billion earmarked for loans of $250,000 or less.

When Can I Apply For a PPP Loan?

The new application for Paycheck Protection Program was released on January 8th, you can find the first draw application here, and you can find the application for the second draw here.  $30 Billion was made available to first draw PPP loans as of Monday (January 11) to certain Community Financial Institutions, which include Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), Certified Development Companies (CDCs), and Microloan Intermediaries.  Those CFIs can start making loans to Second Draw PPP participants starting Wednesday January 13th.

We are still waiting to hear from the SBA as to when other larger banks and institutions will be allowed to accept applications.  It might be smart, however, to go ahead and check out the guidelines yourself and try to get the information necessary to fill out the application.

How Long do I have to Apply for a PPP?

The PPP applications will be available until either the funds run out or until March 31st.  There are a lot of experts that think this round will go quickly, so make sure you have your documents in order as soon as possible.

Important other things to know about the new PPP.

There are five pretty important things to know about the Paycheck Protection Program that have had a lot of concerns throughout 2020.

  1. Expenses paid for by the PPP are now tax deductible.  While the IRS and the Treasury had made comments to the contrary, these new regulations have put a final bow on the matter.  If you spent PPP money on eligible expenses and had it forgiven, you can still fully deduct those expenses.
  2. Simplified Forgiveness:  Borrowers that received (or will receive) PPP loans of $150,000 or less will have a new forgiveness application and process that is not more than 1 page in length and may not require any additional materials unless necessary to substantiate revenue loss requirements or satisfy relevant statutory or regulatory requirements.  The SBA is required to have this form ready by January 20th.
  3. You can now utilize the Employee Retention Tax Credit as well as the PPP, as long as both the ERTC and the PPP are used on different wages.  This is great, especially in 2021 where the new ERTC rules for this year make it easier to obtain, and much more advantageous.
  4. If you received an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Grant, then that no longer counts against your PPP forgiveness, which is huge for those who received the EIDL Grant that usually amounted to $1000 per employee up to $10,000.
  5. Eligible costs have been widened to include more than just rent, payroll costs and qualified utilities.

You can read about these things and more in detail here.

First-Time PPP Borrowers Things to Know

A lot of the initial guidelines for the PPP still applies to those who have not applied for the PPP, were denied, or refused forgiveness.  For instance, you are eligible for a first-time PPP loan if:

  • Businesses with 500 or fewer employees that are eligible for other SBA 7(a) loans.
  • Sole proprietors, independent contractors, and eligible self-employed individuals.
  • Not-for-profits, including churches.
  • Accommodation and food services operations (those with North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes starting with 72) with fewer than 500 employees per physical location.
  • Sec. 501(c)(6) business leagues, such as chambers of commerce, visitors’ bureaus, etc., and “destination marketing organizations” that have 300 or fewer employees and do not receive more than 15% of receipts from lobbying.

One change is that if a business is ineligible to participate if it is publicly traded or controlled (directly or indirectly) by someone in Congress, the President, Vice President, or any head of executive departments.

Second-Draw PPP Loans

If you have already received a PPP Loan and have spent all of it on eligible expenses (even if you have not obtained forgiveness), then you would be eligible for a Second-Draw of the Paycheck Protection Program.  There are some changes in eligibility though, including:

  • 300 or fewer employees
  • Your business had to have experienced a reduction of 25% or more in all or part of 2020 as compared with all or part of 2019.  So basically, if your revenue was down 25% or more in all of 2020 compared to 2019 or in any particular quarter, you could be eligible.
  • Also, if your business was new and formed before February 15, 2020 there will be different rules that apply to you, for instance you can pick a different period in which your revenue was down 25% or more.
    • We will write about this more in another blog article soon.

What is the Maximum PPP loan amount?

In General, just like for the last round of PPP, both the first and second-draw PPP recipients can qualify for a loan up to 2.5 times the average monthly payroll cost (with a $100,000 per employee cap) of one of the following time periods:

  • 2019
  • 2020
  • The previous 12 months from the loan application date.

Hotels and restaurants, and others with NAICS codes starting with 72 can receive up to 3.5 times their average monthly payroll costs on second-draw loans, which is completely understandable due to the amount of hardship they have faced due to COVID-19.

If you are wondering what costs are included in average monthly payroll, here is what we found:

  • Salary, wages, commissions, tips, bonuses and hazard pay (capped at $100,000 on an annualized basis for each employee)
  • Employee benefits including costs for vacation, parental, family, medical, or sick leave allowance for separation or dismissal; payments required for the provisions of group health care benefits including insurance premiums; and payment of any retirement benefit
  • State and local taxes assessed on compensation
  • For a sole proprietor or independent contractor: wages, commissions, income, or net earnings from self-employment, capped at $100,000 on an annualized basis for each employee

What are the PPP Changes for Independent Contractors, Self-Employed, and Sole Proprietors?

One big change for this new round of PPP funding, besides keeping funding aside for smaller businesses and loans is that Independent Contractors and the Self-Employed looking to utilize a first draw of the PPP can use their 2019 or 2020 Schedule C net profit to determine your maximum loan amount.  So for instance, if you made more in 2020 than 2019, but can still certify that you need PPP proceeds to continue operations due to uncertainty, then you can utilize your 2020 Schedule C, but you better get on filling it out!  You must provide the 2019 or 2020 form 1040 Schedule C with your PPP application (if using 2020, you still need to include your 2020 1040 Schedule C even if you have not filed your taxes).  Also, just for ease of reference, if you do not have any employees you can find out your maximum loan amount by doing the following:

  1. Find your 2019 or 2020 IRS Form 1040 Schedule C line 31 net profit
    amount (if you are using 2020 to calculate payroll costs and have not yet filed a
    2020 return, fill it out and compute the value). If this amount is over $100,000,
    reduce it to $100,000. If this amount is zero or less, you are not eligible for a PPP
  2. Calculate the average monthly net profit amount (divide the amount from
    Step 1 by 12).
  3. Multiply the average monthly net profit amount from Step 2 by 2.5.
  4. Add the outstanding amount of any Economic Injury Disaster Loan
    (EIDL) made between January 31, 2020 and April 3, 2020 that you seek to
    refinance. Do not include the amount of any advance under an EIDL COVID-19
    loan (because it does not have to be repaid)

If you are self-employed or an Independent Contractor without employees and you are looking for a second draw loan because you have spent your first draw on eligible expenses, a lot of the same rules apply as it applies to eligibility and maximum loan amount with one big difference.  You have to use THE LESSER OF the product obtained by multiplying:

  1. the net profit of the borrower in 2019 or 2020, as reported on IRS Form 1040 Schedule C,
    that is not more than $100,000, divided by 12; and
  2. 2.5 (or, only for a borrower assigned a NAICS code beginning with 72 as defined in
    31 subsection (f)(10) at the time of disbursement, 3.5).

As far as I can tell, this means that if you are looking to get a second draw, you will need to fill out your 2020 Schedule C and compare your net profit on line 31 to determine which year to use for this draw.  Also, when you go to apply for the second draw of the PPP, you will need the following documentation.

  1. Your 2019 or 2020 (whichever was used to calculate loan amount) Form 1040 Schedule C,
  2. Your 2019 or 2020 (whichever was used to calculate loan amount) IRS Form 1099-MISC detailing nonemployee compensation received (box 7), invoice, bank statement, or book of record that establishes that the applicant is self-employed; and
  3.  A 2020 invoice, bank statement, or book of record to establish that the applicant was in operation on or around February 15, 2020.
  4. For loans with a principal amount greater than $150,000, applicants will need to provide documentation to show that the borrower experienced the 25% reduction in revenue detailed above, at the time of application.
  5. For loans with a principal amount of $150,000 or less, the applicant can provide the documentation to show the required drop in revenue:
    1.  at the time of application,
    2. on or before the date the borrower submits an application for loan forgiveness,
    3. or, if the borrower does not apply for loan forgiveness, at SBA’s request.
  6. The required documentation may include relevant tax forms, including annual tax forms, or, if relevant tax forms are not available, a copy of the applicant’s quarterly income statements or bank statements.

More PPP Details are Coming

Please stay tuned as there are more details that continue to be released.  For example, we are still waiting for the simplified forgiveness application for loans of $150,000 and less, and we are waiting to hear

As always, this is not legal advice and we are not CPA’s or your Financial Advisors and do not know your specific situation.  Please consult your tax professional or advisor.

December 28, 2020 Update: President signed this bill into law yesterday and we will be hosting a webinar on the contents this Wednesday, December 30th at Noon.  


The New Stimulus (or Relief) Package that was passed by Congress earlier this week, also named the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 was close to 6,000 pages and included both a $1.4 Trillion Omnibus (Budget) and a $900 Billion Relief Package.  Also, this bill has not been signed into law by the President yet, so we will be waiting to see if anything changes.  We hope to be doing a webinar on this package next week, so if you are interested in learning more or have some questions, please be on the lookout for more details.

There is an awful lot in this bill because it does contain the budget, so I will try to break it down into pieces.

What applies to everyone?

Economic Impact Payments:  This is where there has been a lot of consternation, and even some frustration from President Trump.  Currently, the bill gives $166 Billion for direct payments of $600 per individuals, including $600 for each child dependent.  This will start to phase out at $75,000 of income for an individual and $150,000 for Married Filing Jointly based on 2019 AGI (find out more about Adjusted Gross Income here).  Please note that this is another 2020 refundable credit, so if your 2020 income is lower than your 2019 income, you can qualify for both this and the first round of payments when you file your taxes.

Charitable Giving:  The CARES Act allowed for a $300 deduction for charitable givers in 2020 for non-itemizers (so keep your receipts this year).  This bill extended that through 2021 and even doubled it for Married Filing Jointly to $600.

Deduction for Business Meals:  Business meals will now be 100% deductible for 2021 and 2022.


What applies to the Unemployed?

There is an 11-week extension of unemployment insurance compensation benefit first provided by the CARES Act, which was set to expire the day after Christmas.  This includes the extra $300 per week of Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance that was on top of state UI compensation, as well as allowing Independent Contractors, Gig Workers, etc to be eligible.

Unemployment benefits paid through the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which allowed for an additional 13 weeks of UI benefits, will also be extended an additional 11 weeks or until March 14th 2021.

There is also an additional $100 per week available for workers with at least $5000 in self-employment income to adjust for a lower UI base payment.  If you are interested in learning more about this, you can check out the Indiana DWD website, although the information about this bill has not been added as of yet.


What about the Paycheck Protection Program or PPP?

There was additional funding of $284 Billion for the Paycheck Protection Program to provide forgivable loans to 1st and 2nd time borrowers.  Also, this is just an overview, and the SBA has 10 days to finalize the program.  It looks like someone will be working hard over the Holidays!  I will try to break this up into two sections:

What applies to all PPP Loans?:

  1. Businesses will now be allowed to deduct expenses paid with forgiven PPP loans.  This is in direct contrast to what we have learned before from the IRS and the Secretary Treasury, but should be able to save businesses a ton when they need it the most.
  2. There is a new simplified forgiveness form for PPP loans of $150,000 or less.  While we do not know what is on that form, we will be on the lookout for it.  There was previously a streamlined forgiveness for PPP Loans of $50,000 and less, but this looks to be even easier.  Here is all we know about this upcoming forgiveness form.
    1. “Specifically, a borrower shall receive forgiveness if a borrower signs and submits to the lender a certification that is not more than one page in length, includes a description of the number of employees the borrower was able to retain because of the loan, the estimated total amount of the loan spent on payroll costs, and the total loan amount. The SBA must create the simplified application form within 24 days of the bill’s enactment and may not require additional materials unless necessary to substantiate revenue loss requirements or satisfy relevant statutory or regulatory requirements. Borrowers are required to retain relevant records related to employment for four years and other records for three years, as the SBA may review and audit these loans to check for fraud.”
  3. Now all borrowers can choose an 8-week or 24-week covered period.
  4. If you received round 1 of PPP, you are now also allowed to participate in the Employee Retention Tax Credit through June 30th.  The ERTC is also expanded and includes:
    1. An increase in the credit rate from 50% to 70% of qualified wages.
    2. An increase in the per employee creditable wages from $10,000 annually to $10,000 per quarter.
    3. A decrease in the eligibility criteria, now allowing year-over-year declines of 20% instead of the 50% used prior.
    4. Rules allowing new employers who were not in existence for all or part of 2019 to claim the credit.


PPP2 loans:

  1. If this is your second go round of PPP you have to:
    1. have 300 or fewer employees
    2. Used all of your first PPP loan
    3. Can show at least a 25% drop in gross receipts in a 2020 quarter compared to the same quarter in 2019.
  2. $25 Billion of this amount is earmarked for independent contractors, self-employed and other small businesses with 10 employees or fewer.
  3. Added covered expenses in excess of the 60% spent on payroll:
    1. Covered worker protection and facility modification expenditures, including personal protective equipment, to comply with COVID-19 federal health and safety guidelines.
    2. Expenditures to suppliers that are essential at the time of purchase to the recipient’s current operations.
    3. Covered operating costs such as software and cloud computing services and accounting needs.
  4. Maximum loan size is $2 Million , and borrowers can receive a loan of up to 2.5 times their average monthly payroll costs in the year prior (just like PPP1).  Hotels and Restaurants can get up to 3.5 times their average monthly payroll costs, though.
  5. PPP 2 Loans will also be available to first-time borrowers that are in one of the following groups:
    1. 501c6 business leagues such as local Chambers, Visitors’ Bureaus, etc.
    2. Businesses with 500 or fewer employees that are eligible for other SBA 7 (a) loans.
    3. Sole Proprietors, independent contractors, and eligible self-employed individuals.
    4. Nonprofits, including churches
    5. Accommodation and food service operations with fewer than 300 employees per physical location.
    6. Or if you returned all or part of a previous PPP loan.


Economic Injury Disaster Loans (New EIDL Grants):

First off, the new relief bill repeals the requirement that PPP borrowers deduct the amount of any EIDL advance from their PPP forgiveness amount.  This was a huge question mark, and should be a relief to the businesses that received both the EIDL grant and the first round of PPP.

$20 Billion was allocated to EIDL Grants as well.  These were up $10,000 grants with a limit of $1000 per employee that acted as up-front payments of the EIDL loans and did not have to be paid back, but the funds ran out shortly after the program began.  In order to qualify for the full amount of this new grant a business must:

  1. Be located in a low-income community
  2. Have suffered an economic loss of 30%+
  3. Have 300 or less employees.

In addition to these, the businesses have to qualify as an eligible entity as put forth in the CARES Act:

  • A small business, cooperative, ESOP Tribal concern, with fewer than 300 employees
  • An individual who operates under as a sole proprietorship, with or without employees, or as an independent contractor; or
  • A private non-profit or small agricultural cooperative.
  • The business must have been in operation by January 31, 2020
  • The business must be directly affected by COVID-19


In Summary, as of the writing of this post on Wednesday, December 23, this bill has not been signed into law yet, and it may be different when it is, so please check back for more information.  We hope to have a webinar next week to discuss these issues and some others that will be pertinent to Small Businesses and others.


Thanks and we will see you soon.




As always, this is not legal advice and we are not CPA’s or your Financial Advisors and do not know your specific situation.  Please consult your tax professional or advisor.

Sources for this Story:



As COVID-19 continues to reek havoc on the budgets of Nonprofit Organizations, many are looking for ways to cut overhead costs while still retaining funds for programming and continuing the mission of the organization.  One way to do this is to utilizing a Coworking Space, which have been growing in popularity over the last several years, and can be found within a 20 minute drive from most populated areas.  Here are just a few benefits that becoming a member of a Coworking Space can provide your nonprofit organization.

  1. A Coworking Space Can Help Your Nonprofit Save Money– Rent and Mortgages can be expensive, not to mention the cost of maintenance, utilities and all of the other ongoing costs that come along with having your own office.  Coworking spaces provide a lot of the perks of having your own office such as providing Secure WIFI, private meeting rooms, printing, a kitchen, and even a professional address.  These services can be had usually for a flat monthly rate, which could save your organization a lot of money in ongoing costs.  In fact locally, the Girl Scouts of Central Indiana have started to utilize coworkingspaces to save money on overhead so they can spend more on programming. Level Two Inc is one of the coworking spaces that the Girl Scouts have utilized to save 6 figures annually!
  2. A Unique Perspective for Your Nonprofit – Not only do Coworking Spaces come with printing and WIFI, but their best attribute is their built in community.  This community is comprised of individuals from many different backgrounds with all kinds of expertise.  With entrepreneurs, freelancers, remote employees and more, this community can help your team members by providing unique perspectives and refreshing point of views.  Community members also can serve as a impromptu focus group when your nonprofit is dealing with a tough issue or updating marketing materials.  There is often a feeling of collaboration and comradery between members of a coworking space, as we all want to see each other succeed.
  3. An Expanded Network for Your Nonprofit- While the community at a coworking space can provide unique perspectives, they can also provide your nonprofit with new donors or potential volunteers and Board Members.  Since the community members often come from diverse backgrounds, they often have completely different networks they associate with.  As your organization grows alongside the other businesses in the space, the relationships will tend to grow as well, which can lead to them buying into your mission and sharing it with their networks.  In fact in a 2015 Study , 82% of the members of coworking spaces felt like they had expanded their professional network while 79% said it had expanded their social network.
  4. Your Team Members Will Be Happier and More productive– Even before the pandemic, the trend of remote work was growing.  Purpose and flexibility have become more important than salary.  These trends along with technology gains have lead to employers allowing more and more employees to work remotely.  And while remote work can be great, it can also feel isolating, which is something we all have discovered in 2020.  This feeling of isolation is much less present in remote workers who work out of coworking spaces.  The 2015 study sited previously reported that 89% of the respondents said they were happier after joining a coworking space, while 83% were less lonely and a full 78% said that working in the coworking space “kept them sane” (they must have had young kids at home).  These social effects also had a productivity benefit, 84% of the coworkers surveyed said they were more engaged and motivated when coworking, 69% said they feel more successful since joining a coworking space.  A happy employee is a productive employee!
  5. It Can Give your Nonprofit a Presence in New Markets – For growing nonprofits, coworking spaces can serve as satellite offices for much less cost or commitment.  Coworking Space contracts are often monthly or annual contracts, so if you would like to try out some test markets for your services, you can do so without too much opportunity cost.  It also will show that your organization is embracing current trends in the marketplace and is wise about spending on overhead.  Also, older organizations may have a desire to reduce costs or footprints of satellite offices while maintaining some type of physical presence, which could be done by grabbing a corporate membership to a coworking space in that community.

So Is a Coworking Space Right for Your Nonprofit?  While we have discussed 5 of the potential benefits, there are a couple of drawbacks to a coworking space.  First off, coworking spaces are shared, and while this gives you access to a wonderful community of diverse people full of unique perspectives, there are limits on privacy and storage space.  We have found though, that there are a few ways around this.  First off, as more items are going to the cloud, becoming a paperless nonprofit will help you become more sustainable as an organization.  Second, while coworking spaces may not have much storage space, storage units are much more cost effective than private offices.  Finally, while privacy may be an issue, most coworking spaces have private meeting rooms that can be booked ahead of time.  These rooms can serve as the privacy you need for a committee or Board Meeting.

Coworking spaces are great, and can provide your Nonprofit with incredible benefits, and while the overhead cost savings are tangible and REAL, the best benefits you get are the social aspects.

If you have any questions about our Coworking Space, do not hesitate to call us at 317-932-0369 or email me at




While most of us are returning or getting ready for our Fall Break, we wanted to relay some good news to send you on your way this weekend.  Level Two Inc has received a Grant from the Hendricks County Community Foundation that will match the gifts we receive on a Dollar for Dollar basis from now until the end of the year.

How cool is that?

With this opportunity provided by HCCF’s COVID Response Phase 2, we can get much needed resources to continue our mission of fostering Entrepreneurship and cultivating growth in Small Business by providing space, networking, and educational opportunities.  A colleague of mine, Julie Heath (the Executive Director of the Speak Easy) notes that coworking spaces can have a huge impact on the economic development on their community by “lowering the barrier to entry” for startups.  While coworking spaces provide all of the amenities of a private office at a low cost, there are many other intangibles that help our Entrepreneurs thrive.

Having a professional space to congregate helps develop a sense of community, and while not every Coworker in a space is an entrepreneur, everyone carries with them a unique skillset and knowledge base that others can learn from.  Coworkers can keep each other accountable, bounce ideas off of each other, or just serve as support when someone encounters creative block or a hurdle in their professional development.  While we provide a lot more resources, instead of listing them here, I will point you to this article we wrote earlier in the week.

Did you know that new businesses are starting at a record pace this year?  That’s right, in the midst of this pandemic new applications for Employer IDs has reached 1.1 million, which is a 12% rise over last year and the highest number since 2007.  Of these businesses, statistics say that only 50% will still be around 5 years from now, and only one third will be around in 10 years.  With this many new businesses starting, we need to make sure we are doing our best to help them thrive.

This is where you come in.  In order to receive the match, we need you and your business to help.  Your donation allows us to continue to provide resources to the startups, entrepreneurs and small businesses that help our community thrive.  Besides earning a Match, donations of $500 or more will be eligible to go up on our Partnership Wall next to partners such as Duke Energy, the Town of Plainfield, Ice Miller, LLP, Rozzi and Associates, and others (if you would like to see a rendering just let us know).  Also, since we are a 501c3 organization, your donations could be tax deductible!

Now is the time to work with us to foster entrepreneurship and cultivate growth in the small businesses of our community!

Donate Now


While some banks are beginning to accept PPP Forgiveness applications, others are still waiting for more information from the SBA.  Also, while some banks are allowing forgiveness applications to be submitted when the loan proceeds are spent (such as TD Bank), still others are waiting until your covered period is over (Bank of America), and there are even more banks that are only accepting forgiveness applications via email invitation in order to provide “better customer service.”  It is important to note that your particular covered period could be 8 or 24 weeks, depending on which election you choose when you apply for forgiveness, and your particular situation.  Due to the updated guidance for the Independent Contractors, Freelancers, and those who are self-employed issued in June, these individuals may wish to choose the longer covered period to obtain forgiveness more easily.  Here is a segment of the guidance:

The SBA and Department of Treasury had “determined that it is appropriate to limit the forgiveness of owner compensation replacement for individuals with self-employment income who file a Schedule C or F to either eight weeks’ worth (8/52) of 2019 net profit (up to $15,385) for an eight-week covered period or 2.5 months’ worth (2.5/12) of 2019 net profit (up to $20,833) for a 24-week covered period per owner in total across all businesses.”

This means that if you do not have a lot of covered expenses like rent, business mortgage interest, or utilities, you can opt for the extended covered period of 24 weeks (instead of the original 8) and will most likely receive full forgiveness.

Keep in mind that banks may be slowly rolling out forgiveness due to the provision that once the application for forgiveness has been submitted, they only have 60 days to make a ruling on that application.  Here is where we get some good news.

Due to the potential log jam in making ruling on these smaller loans, on October 8th the SBA and Department of the Treasury issued a new streamlined forgiveness application that is only 2 pages.  This application (Form 3508 S) can be utilized by those companies who have received PPP Loans of $50,000 and less.  While you will still need to send in supporting documentation with this streamlined application, the hope is that the turn around time will be much much quicker, and your administrative headache will be much smaller.

If you are an Independent Contractor, sole proprietor or self-employed your documentation could also be much easier with this new streamlined application.  According to this article:  “you are eligible to take owner compensation replacement (OCR). If you are taking OCR, you will have to provide your 2019 Schedule C (or a drafted Schedule C for January to February 2020 reviewed or prepared by a CPA if you started your business after June 2019). Your forgiveness amount will be based on the 2019 Schedule C or drafted January to February 2020 Schedule C provided. You can calculate this number by taking 8/52 or 24/52 (depending on your covered period) of the net income reported on line 31 of the Schedule C.”

We continue to get more information about this program, and as we do we will work to keep you all informed.  As always, please keep in touch with your bank to the extent that you can, and make sure that your CPA’s and other advisors are kept up to date.

Have a great week, and best of luck!