New $2.2 million initiative aims to help COVID-impacted small businesses regain profitability, prepare for sustainable growth
Louisville Metro Government has entered into an agreement with LHOME, Louisville’s Intentionally Inclusive Lender, to administer a $2.2 million loan fund to assist small businesses in Smoketown, Shelby Park and the nine west Louisville neighborhoods that have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The funds have been made available through federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) dollars for LHOME’s Back to Business initiative. The program offers free business coaching and affordable loans, with priority given to businesses owned by minorities, women, and those with disabilities.
“Early last year, Louisville Metro committed to supporting small businesses struggling through the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and increasing our intentionality around investing in places and people who lack access to capital and other resources due to the impacts of disinvestment and discriminatory practices like redlining. We are happy to work with LHOME, a great community partner, as they help businesses return to their pre-pandemic profitability and set them on a path of growth,” said Mayor Greg Fischer.
Through the Back to Business initiative, businesses will start by working with a small business coach to determine business needs and eligibility; the LHOME coach will work with businesses to collect or produce all the necessary information and paperwork to apply for a loan. Eligible businesses could receive a maximum loan of $150,000, up to $50,000 of which may be forgivable. The amount of the loan and terms will be variable depending on an individual business’ needs. Businesses that are not eligible may qualify for other LHOME programs, and any small business in Jefferson County that is still struggling to regain pre-pandemic results is encouraged to contact LHOME.
“I am very excited LHOME is launching the Back to Business loan program. The pandemic has stressed and stretched small businesses,” said Adam Hall, LHOME’s board chair. “This loan fund will contribute to a thriving economic infrastructure in Louisville, getting vulnerable business back to their pre-pandemic success.”
LHOME worked with the Louisville Urban League and A Path Forward to design the program.
Sadiqa Reynolds, President & CEO of the Louisville Urban League shared, “The League and our Path Forward partners have been advocating since the summer of 2020 for Louisville Metro Government to direct resources to businesses who have been historically redlined out of opportunity. This Back to Business opportunity is a clear response to that call, and another impactful investment from Louisville Metro Government towards that same end. We are encouraged to see LHOME launch its most flexible and responsive product to date through this program."
Small businesses, for the purposes of this fund, are defined as businesses with fewer than 300 employees and less than $20 million in average annual revenue. To be eligible, applicants must:
- Have an established business that was operating prior to March 1, 2020;
- Be the business owner or a majority partner;
- Have a documented loss of income directly related to COVID-19 pandemic;
- Demonstrate how this coaching and funding will help reestablish and/or grow the business;
- Have a bank account; and
- Be at least 18 years of age and have a state-issued ID.
Funds must be used for working capital (wages, mortgage/rent, supplies, utilities, etc.), inventory, vendor-installed equipment, and other equipment (computers, kitchen equipment/appliances, etc.).
Businesses should visit https://www.lhomeky.org/b2b to fill out the contact form and answer eligibility questions.
In addition to this $2.2 million fund, Louisville Metro has administered nearly $30 million in loans and grants to 894 small businesses for COVID-19 relief and assistance. More information can be found here: https://louisvilleky.gov/government/louisville-forward/covid-19-relief-grants-and-loans.