As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend nearly every aspect of daily life, small businesses are finding themselves in a particularly unfortunate limbo. With many looking for some sort of help to navigate the choppy waters, a new emergency loan program could be the buoy some businesses have been looking for.
The program is specifically targeted at business affected by the temporarily closures as outlined in Gov Tim Walz’s Executive Order 20-04 and was created under the Small Business Assistance Executive Order 20-15 on March 23. Executive Order 20-15 orders the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) to make $30 million available from special revenue funds. From this pool, loans between $2,500 and $35,000 will be granted to qualifying businesses.
“We know that this emergency loan program is just one tool businesses will need to leverage to stay afloat,” Steve Grove, DEED Commissioner, said in a release. “It’s an important one because it will get cash flowing quickly to the small Minnesota businesses that need it most.”
The loans — made by a network of lenders DEED works with throughout the state — will carry a 0% interest rate and be 50% forgivable. If a recipient receives other financing, the emergency loan must be repaid. Depending on the amount given per loan, DEED estimates between 1,200 and 5,000 business will be given funds. DEED expects applications to be available later this week, and questions about the loans can be sent to ELP@state.mn.us.
“Over the last week, we’ve heard from many of Minnesota’s small businesses who are facing significant hardships because of the COVID-19 crisis,” Gov. Walz said in the release. “Small businesses are the backbone of our communities, and now more than ever, we’re looking to creative solutions like DEED’s emergency loan program to help them weather these extraordinarily difficult times.”