COVID-19 relief options and additional resources

The Show Will Go On Thanks to Help from the SBA

Craig Samborski, owner of Draw Events, started 2019 with big plans already in action to produce events around the country. The company annually produces the Tall Ships Festival in Duluth, Minn. and is also the owner of the world's largest rubber duck, which travels the world for festivals.

Just before the pandemic, Samborski had five festivals scheduled, with websites built, tickets sold, advertisements bought, and more.  Then COVID-19 hit and, like many other business owners, he didn’t know how long it would last. As the pandemic persisted, all of Draw Events’ festivals needed to be canceled. Samborski needed to figure out how he would survive the pandemic and have the funding needed to restart when things opened back up.

Turning to the U.S. Small Business Administration, Draw Events received an Economic Injury Disaster Loan in August 2020, as well as an EIDL Advance. Those funds helped it survive last year and will continue to help Samborski this summer and as he reboots his full operation for 2022.  A solopreneur, Draw Events directly supports about a dozen small businesses and 100-150 jobs every year. Additionally, the Tall Ships Festival has a $15 million economic impact in the Duluth area each year it takes place.

Samborski shared that, “Like a lot of businesses, we are going to be playing catch up. I will need to do more festivals – 10 in a season instead of the normal two or three. What’s more, we want to do more than get back to normal.  We want to get back to making profits and the EIDL loan, a lifesaver in 2020, is helping us do that.”

As we all push to get back to a life well-lived, Draw Events is doing its part by getting the ships and rubber duck on the water this summer in Waukegen, Ill., Travers City, Mich., and more. Those of us in Minnesota will need to wait until 2022 to enjoy the next Tall Ships Festival and see the world’s largest rubber duck in Duluth, but thanks in part to the EIDL program, we should be able to once again do so.