Louisville Forward launches new low-interest loan fund to help small businesses impacted by COVID-19

September 09, 2020

Louisville Forward, the city’s economic and community development arm, has launched a new $2.8 million low-interest revolving loan fund designed to assist small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The Small Business COVID-19 Relief Loan was created using grant funds recently awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA).

“This new loan program will give small businesses another option for help as they continue to face the deep impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “Thank you to the EDA for the grant funding to make this possible.”

The new loan offering will be administered by Louisville Forward’s Small Business Team through its METCO program, which provides financial assistance to businesses through commercial loans. Louisville Forward was one of six organizations in Kentucky to receive EDA grant funds for the new revolving loan fund.

“Small businesses are invaluable pillars in our communities,” said Governor Andy Beshear. “Our business owners have diligently followed guidelines and prioritized protecting their fellow Kentuckians. We can’t thank them enough for their help combatting COVID-19, and it is imperative we help them thoughtfully rebuild and stay economically resilient. Thank you to everyone who made this funding possible and for investing in Kentucky.”

Because of the pandemic, overall revenue among small businesses in Louisville have declined nearly 20 percent, according to Opportunity Insights, a non-partisan research and policy institute based at Harvard University. The new Small Business COVID-19 Relief Loan aims to meet businesses’ immediate cash flow needs quickly through a shortened application process and additional meetings of the METCO Board, the oversight body that approves all loans through the METCO program.

Small businesses can receive a 66-month loan of up to $50,000, with no payments and zero interest for the first six months and two percent interest starting in month seven.

In order to apply, the business owner must be located in Louisville, and provide most recent year of business tax returns, 2019 and 2020 profit and loss statements, and balance sheet for 2020. The business must also be in good standing with the Louisville Metro Revenue Commission and Kentucky Secretary of State. No personal financial information will be required. Approved borrowers must agree to receive financial coaching within 90 days of closing and provide proof of how they use the funds on a quarterly basis.

Louisville Forward will begin accepting applications on Sept. 14. For more details and updates on how to apply, businesses should visit https://louisvilleky.gov/government/louisville-forward/small-business-c….

In addition to the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Loan Program, Louisville Forward launched the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program in July of this year. Funded with more than $21 million in federal CARES dollars, the grant program is designed to help prevent business closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and to preserve the hundreds of businesses that make Louisville unique. More than 950 applications have been submitted by small businesses.

As of Sept. 3, more than $16.7 million in grants have been awarded to 463 small businesses in Louisville.

Of the grant dollars allocated to date, 25.4 percent has gone to minority-owned businesses, and 35.8 percent has been awarded to women-owned businesses. The city also has committed to granting more than half of the total fund to businesses located in low-to-moderate income census tracts.

Learn more about the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program and view a list of businesses with approved grant applications at https://louisvilleky.gov/government/louisville-forward/small-business-c….

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