Richmond small businesses can apply for no-interest disaster loans during pandemic

Richmond Economic Development Authority creates loan program for small businesses

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Richmond Economic Development Authority has created a no-interest disaster loan program for small businesses within city limits.

The Richmond Small Business Disaster Loan Program will provide relief to small businesses that have been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Looking out his front window, shoe shop owner Jeff Wells feels for his neighbors whose doors are closed.

“Our business is down over 80 percent," the owner of Feet Fleet said.

The coronavirus shutdown undoubtedly making it hard for businesses to make ends meet, especially when they have employees who need paychecks.

“Were sitting on a lot of inventory. We’re still paying payroll and no products moving out the door like it was," Wells said.

Richmond leaders recognize that, and that’s why Friday, Mayor Levar Stoney discussed the city’s small business relief loan. Local companies with 25 employees or less can qualify for up to $20,000.

“We’re doing our best to play the role of grand convener, bringing our friends in the philanthropic, nonprofit world together to ensure that those who are facing hardship in this difficult time find the resources necessary for survival," he said.

It comes as the Small Business Administration also rolled out the Paycheck Protection Program offering up to $10 million in forgivable loans for companies across the country with fewer than 500 employees.

“I think they should use every tool that’s in the toolbox right now...Also, I ask that they reach out to their lenders too and the banks on how they can start creating payment plans to ensure they’re not caught in a critical serious situation with their lenders," Stoney suggested.

Over at Fleet Feet, owners believe Richmond companies could really use the help.

“As we know in this business - cash is king...If we can just hold off for two or three months and maintain our staff to keep them with jobs, keep some continuity in our business, keep the lights on, that would be a good thing," Wells added.

The maximum loan amount for the program is six months of current employee wages or $20,000, whichever is less.

Loan payments will be disbursed over six months. Repayment of the loans will be deferred for six months, followed by 48 months of no-interest payments.

Applications for the loans will be available on April 6. Funding is limited and applications will be considered in the order they are submitted.

Any small businesses that are interested should fill out an application and provide the required documentation via email.

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