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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In the face of COVID-19, more small businesses in Tennessee are in line to get a lifeline.

Gov. Bill Lee announced the Tennessee Business Relief Program on Tuesday. The program will pump $200 million into small businesses around the state.

Many suffering businesses right here in Memphis say the money is desperately needed.

To say that COVID-19 shifted things at Tamboli’s Pasta & Pizza on Madison would be an understatement.

“It’s been dramatic,” owner Miles Tamboli said. “We’ve had to change everything that we do.”

Tamboli said that to survive, he has been forced to change his business model from a small dining space to building on a deck and outside seating that will allow more distance between customers.  

He also opened up a market inside to sell all of their ingredients.

“We are still sending them home with a hot pizza but we can also provide the grocery store staples they need,” Tamboli said.

He says it would not have been possible without the Small Business Administration’s help securing loans.

“The SBA funding has really helped us cover our basic needs so we can move into the future,” he said.

It’s a story Rory Thomas hears every day as executive director of the SBA’s Tennessee Small Business Development Center.

“We have been flooded with a lot of calls,” Thomas said. “People signing up for counseling, registration, advising and training.”

Businesses have questions about loans and any stipulations.

Now there is even more money available.

“While Congress continues to provide guidance about how that money can be spent, we all agree that providing immediate relief to Tennessee businesses is critical,” Lee said while announcing the state’s program.

The Tennessee Department of Revenue is administering this loan.

But Thomas said the key to any loan is to just start applying and see what programs you can apply for.

More info on the Tennessee Business Relief Program will be posted on the Department of revenue’s website in the coming days.

For a link to the Small Business Development Center for other loans, visit