The NC Rural Center is urging qualifying businesses to apply for COVID-19 Rapid Recovery loans through the program with the deadline set for Oct. 15.

After a series of recent pandemic recovery legislation, signed by Gov. Roy Cooper, the small-business and family farm-based loan program still has funding available to immediately loan to qualifying businesses statewide.

The Rapid Recovery program was initially launched in late March to support small business owners and family farms in the wake of the pandemic. To date, the pandemic-based program has distributed thousands of loans to North Carolina small businesses.

To further support this community, the loan program has adapted, based on loan applicant feedback, to provide technical support for small-business owners and extended loan repayment timelines. Under the program’s guidelines, businesses and farms may borrow up to $250,000 with no payments and 0.25 percent interest for the first 18 months.

“This program continues to be a lifeline to North Carolina businesses that need support during this pandemic-based economic crisis,” said NC Rural Center President Patrick Woodie. “We encourage any business that could benefit from this program to consider applying by October 15.”

The NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Program launched three days before the CARES Act was signed into law. The program started with an initial $15 million in funding from the Golden LEAF Foundation and since that time, private and public entities, including the General Assembly, supported by the governor, have expanded the program’s available lending capital.

To address the ongoing challenges presented by the pandemic and help boost this loan program to as many potential businesses as possible, the NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program offers technical assistance for business owners seeking to complete an application, including credit counselors to help business owners better understand their loan options. The loan’s terms also include a 102-month repayment timeline.

The NC Rural Center is promoting available loans to communities statewide to reach a broad range of businesses including restaurants, small businesses and family farms that may be eligible for the loan program. In addition, the program is sharing Rapid Recovery information with its funding partners; as well as association groups whose members may qualify for the loans.

“We will continue to promote this loan program statewide so that small businesses are able to keep their doors open during these tough economic times,” Woodie said. “The state and our partners are committed to standing by businesses in both the good times and tough times — and we’re here now to help the state’s economy rebuild.”

For information about eligibility, loan terms, and necessary documentation, visit the NC Rapid Recovery FAQ page. The FAQ, as well as other resources about the program, are available in both English and Spanish.

Applicants can contact to be connected with technical assistance.