How to get money if your Charlotte small business has been financially hurt by COVID-19

How to get money if your Charlotte small business has been financially hurt by COVID-19
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If you’re a small business owner financially hurt by COVID-19, you’ve probably heard by now that getting help through the federal government’s new emergency loan program has been challenging.

Known as the Paycheck Protection Program, the federal package includes $350 billion in forgivable loans for businesses with fewer than 500 employees. Many small companies have reported trouble with getting through for a loan, though. Some are still waiting in line. Last week, Congress passed a new bill adding $320 billion to the PPP.

There are a number of other resources available now for small businesses, many intended just for ones in our area.

Last week, for instance, Mecklenburg County approved a pair of loans specifically designed for local small businesses challenged financially because of the outbreak. Applications for the two programs opened up on Monday.

Here’s a guide of some of the non-federal financial assistance programs, as well as other informational resources, out there for small businesses affected by COVID-19. This is an ongoing list, and it will be updated periodically.

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COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Stabilization Loan Fund

Mecklenburg County has committed $5 million for this fund, which is for businesses with up to 50 employees. Those companies can apply for loans of $5,000 to $35,000, which can cover expenses like payroll, utilities, rent, and equipment. The loans will be available for up to 10-year terms with an interest rate of 3%. You can find the application here.

Micro Business Stabilization Fund

Another new program from Mecklenburg County, this fund is for even smaller small businesses, ones with five or fewer employees. The county has set aside $1 million of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Funds for this program, and each business can apply for loans up to $10,000. Businesses can use these loans for routine expenses, such as payroll, rent, and utilities. The loans have a maturity of three years at 0% interest. You can find the application here.

Salesforce Care Small Business Grants

Salesforce has committed $5 million to launch a grant program to keep small businesses hurt by COVID-19 afloat. The software company says it will give out 500 grants for $10,000, which small businesses can use for expenses like salaries and materials. Salesforce says the grant program will open up in mid-April to small businesses around the U.S. You can sign up for notifications here.

NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program

The Golden LEAF Foundation originally set aside $15 million for a loan program designed for North Carolina businesses that have suffered economic losses because of COVID-19. That pot quickly ran out, but the state legislature recently replenished it with an infusion of $125 million. Businesses can take out loans of up to $50,000 with 0% interest and no payments for six months. If the loan is not repaid within six months, the loan will convert into a term loan. There is no cap on the number of employees applying businesses must have, a foundation spokeswoman says. There’s been significant demand for the program, and state officials are considering adding more money to it.

Loans through RISEwithco

A new funding program through the company withco will offer up to 50 Charlotte small businesses a zero-interest loan between $2,000 and $20,000 to go toward expenses related to COVID-19. In addition to capital, the program provides qualifying businesses “ongoing services designed to increase a business’s profitability, growth, and resiliency.” Applications, which can be found here, will be open through 5 p.m. on May 10.

Facebook’s Small Business Grants Program

Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits to small businesses nationwide that employ between 2 to 50 employees. Grants can be used to cover operational expenses like rent. Here is the link to the application and more information on eligibility.

Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund

Verizon has committed $2.5 million for a fund that will offer small businesses grants of up to $10,000. The program is especially focused on entrepreneurs who are women and minorities. Business can use the funds for expenses like payroll and paying vendors. Round one of the application program is closed, but Verizon says it’ll open up another round mid-April. Register here to learn more.

City of Charlotte Micro Business Relief Fund

This month, Charlotte City Council voted 10-1 to approve a plan to re-route $1 million in existing federal community block development grant funds for grants of up to $10,000 for local small businesses that employ up to five people. The funds can support operational costs such as payroll and rent. The city says priority will be given to women and minority-owned businesses. A link to the application will be posted on this site on Monday, May 4.

City of Charlotte Open for Business Initiative

The city of Charlotte has launched an “open for business” dashboard aimed at highlighting small businesses that are still open during COVID-19. Businesses can fill out a short application here to get added to the portal. The dashboard will include modified hours, changes to service, delivery options and special offers from businesses that remain open.

Charlotte Small Business Coalition

This is a newly formed group of volunteers who represent small businesses with 50 or fewer employees, including those who are self-employed. Right now they’re in the information-gathering stage and have put together a 12-question survey that takes just a few minutes to complete. The end of the survey includes a list of additional resources for small businesses in the area.

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