Relief funds to aid small businesses


Staff Writer

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Funding is eligible for small businesses in the Twin Counties still impacted by Hurricane Matthew.

The N.C. Department of Commerce has awarded $10 million to support the recovery of small businesses located in areas impacted by Hurricane Matthew. The recovery funds are being administered by the N.C. Department of Commerce’s Rural Economic Development Division and are provided from Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funds.

The Carolina Small Business Development Fund, Center for Community Self-Help and the N.C. Community Development Initiative Inc. are three nonprofit, small-business lending institutions that have been awarded the money to expand access to credit for small businesses within the Matthew-affected areas.

Kenny Flowers, assistant secretary for Rural Economic Development at the Commerce Department, said eligible borrowers for the funds are commonly 500 employees for manufacturing businesses and $7.5 million in revenue for non-manufacturing.

“The priority is to provide the majority of these funds to small businesses in Edgecombe, Wayne, Robeson and Cumberland counties,” Flowers said.

To be eligible, the small businesses must qualify as a small business under Small Business Administration’s standards, be able to document physical or economic damage resulting directly or indirectly from Hurricane Matthew, have no remaining source of funds to meet its remaining recovery needs and be located in one of the state’s counties like Edgecombe County designated as eligible for recovery assistance, Flowers added. Small businesses in Nash County that fall under the criteria also are entitled to assistance.

“Once meeting these requirements, the business should contact one of the three program lenders,” Flowers said. “These lenders will work closely with the business to put together a loan under this program.  The business needs to have a forward-looking plan to recover and grow. This plan includes generation of enough clash flow to operate the business and service the low-cost loan.”

Flowers said the small business disaster recovery assistance is in the form of a low-cost loan made up of a three-year forgivable, deferred interest portion, combined with a matching low interest rate portion. 

Flowers added the funds are provided in a two-component loan. The grant funded portion is provided as a three-year, interest-deferred portion. At the end of each year of the term of the total loan, one-third of the grant-funded portion is forgiven if all loan conditions are being met. The matching funds provided by the lender are a conventional loan that may have a longer term than the grant-funded forgivable portion.

“The funds may be used for building repair, purchase of equipment, fixtures, furniture, working capital, inventory, marketing programs and other recovery activities,” Flowers said. “The lenders are three community development financial institutions that are experienced at working with small businesses of many types.

For general questions or specific inquires regarding applying for a loan, contact the following lender representatives: Carolina Small Business Development Fund — Roxanne Bailey-Reed at 919-803-1437, ext. 403 or rreed@carolinasmallbusiness.org or Greg Taylor at 919-759-7709, ext. 401 or gtaylor@carolinasmallbusiness.org; Center for Community Self-Help — Jessie Maxwell at 919-956-4684 or Jessie. Maxwell@self-help.org; N.C. Community Development Initiative Inc. — Tara Campbell at 919-835-6002 or tcampbell@ncinitiative.org.