Loans available for small businesses impacted by storms, power outages

Recent storms and prolonged power outages have resulted in equipment damage, lost inventory, and mounting bills for many area small businesses. However, new low-interest emergency recovery loans could offer some relief.

Franklin County’s Economic Development and Planning Department is partnering with the Economic and Community Development Institute to offer emergency loans of up to $10,000 each to small businesses impacted by last week’s weather emergency. Loans are subject to ECDI approval and credit policy, and have a 5 percent interest rate and terms up to 18 months.

“This recent storm dealt many Franklin County small businesses a serious financial setback,” said County Commissioner President Paula Brooks in a statement. “For some, this recovery assistance could mean the difference in keeping the lights on and the doors open.”

Franklin County is working with state and federal partners to seek additional help for businesses and local jurisdictions that are dealing with the high costs of clean-up from those storms.

“The hardship that local businesses are facing because of the storms gives ECDI a unique opportunity to do what we do best: support small businesses by providing capital,” said ECDI Chief Executive Officer Inna Kinney. “Immediately after the storm, we started receiving calls from many of our portfolio businesses in need of assistance, so we know the demand is there. We work with businesses day in and day out, and are glad that we were able to respond so rapidly to the needs faced by entrepreneurs.”

To get help to businesses as quickly as possible, ECDI has pledged a 72-hour turnaround once a loan application is complete.

Funding for the loan program is a combination of federal, banking, and private lending sources through ECDI, totaling $250,000. In the coming weeks, County Commissioners are expected to approve an additional $50,000.

“As a former restaurant owner, I can understand the challenges that small businesses face,” said County Commissioner John O’Grady. “There are many small businesses just getting started who operate on thin cash margins, which can be severely impacted by even a short-term disaster, forcing owners to resort to high-interest credit to manage cash shortages. Getting out of the hole can be difficult. These loans will help them make it through until their insurance settlements come in or until business stabilizes.”

Complete details on the Emergency Recovery Loan program, including required documentation and qualification guidelines, will soon be posted on ECDI’s website at ECDI.org.

Small business owners can also get more information by calling ECDI’s lending offices at 614-559-0194.