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City launches $37M loan program for COVID-ravaged small businesses

Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Jonnel Doris announced three financial assistance programs available for small businesses in low-to-moderate income (LMI) neighborhoods.

The NYC LMI Storefront Loan, Interest Rate Reduction Grant, and Strategic Impact COVID-19 Commercial District Support Grant will provide resources to small businesses to help them build back and grow beyond the pandemic.

DEPUTY MAYOR THOMPSON

“This crisis has brought devastating consequences to our local economy and impacted our most vulnerable communities. To achieve economic democracy, we must respond quickly with resources and capacity,” said J. Phillip Thompson, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives and Co-Chair of the Racial Inclusion and Equity Task Force.

“These robust financial programs will aid small businesses to help them build back stronger than before.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted minority communities. Over 60,000 businesses in these communities, including restaurants, retail stores, salons, daycares, and more, have been historically blocked from accessing capital – and face a higher risk of closing.

The Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity has worked with SBS to address these issues in neighborhoods with a high percentage of other health and socioeconomic disparities.

NYC LMI Storefront Loan

The Department of Small Business Services has partnered with the New York City Economic Development Corporation and Pursuit BDC on this $35 million loan vehicle.

Storefront businesses with at least two but fewer than 100 employees who are located in LMI neighborhoods will be eligible to apply for a zero-interest loan up to $100K. The loan can be used to help businesses restart or continue operations after experiencing challenges from COVID-19.

Businesses who would like to apply for the loan must:

Be a storefront business located within an LMI zip code

Have business operations since or before January 1st, 2018

Employ between two and 99 employees

Businesses can learn more about the NYC LMI Storefront Loan and eligibility criteria at nyc.gov/storefrontloan. Applications open for this loan on November 30th.

Reducing Business Debt

The Interest Rate Reduction Grant will help reduce the interest expense owed on an existing loan with select Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI). CDFIs focus on serving businesses that cannot easily access capital and creating opportunities that positively impact the communities they serve. SBS has partnered with 11 CDFIs who work primarily with Asian, Black, Latinx, and immigrant business owners.

The grant will free up cash flow for businesses that can be repurposed to help restart or maintain operations. Businesses must have an existing loan with CDFIs listed below and should contact their CDFI to confirm if they are eligible to apply.

Accompany Capital (Previously Business Center for New Americans)

Ascendus (Previously Accion East)

BOC Capital

Greater Jamaica Development Corporation (GJDC)

Harlem Entrepreneurial Fund

Renaissance Economic Development Corporation

The Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (BOEDC)

TruFund Financial Services

Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation (UMEZ)

Washington Heights and Inwood Development Corporation (WHIDC)

The Working World DBA Seed Commons

The list of CDFIs above can also be found at www.nyc.gov/cdfigrant.

Strategic Impact COVID-19 Commercial District Support Grant

The Strategic Impact COVID-19 Commercial District Support grant will provide funding to community-based development organizations (CBDOs) to implement local COVID-19 recovery support to small businesses. The funds will be used to conduct outreach, provide technical assistance to connect small businesses, increase awareness and comprehension of new City and State rules and regulations, and strengthen merchant relationships to foster collaboration and increased local organizing.

$700,000 will be available over the next 6 months to local communities. Eligible applicants must serve one or more of the following 39 LMI neighborhoods and communities of color:

Bronx: Crotona, East Tremont, Highbridge, Hunts Point, Jerome Park, Longwood, Melrose, Morris Heights, Morrisania, Mott Haven, Soundview, Soundview Bruckner, Van Cortlandt Park

Brooklyn: Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brighton Beach, Brownsville, Bushwick, Canarsie, East Flatbush, East New York, Starrett City, Sunset Park, and Coney Island

Manhattan: Central Harlem, Chinatown, East Harlem, Hamilton Heights, Inwood, Lower East Side, Morningside Heights, Washington Heights

Queens: Briarwood, Corona, Jamaica, Queensbridge, Rockaways

Staten Island: St. George, Stapleton

Eligible applicants include nonprofit community-based development organizations that serve a single-neighborhood, CBDOs that serve multiple neighborhoods or a borough, and organizations that can provide organizing and technical assistance to neighborhood-serving organizations across the city. Organizations interested in applying should visit www.nyc.gov/strategicimpactgrant.

RANDY PEERS

“Small businesses, especially those in lower-income communities, are facing an unprecedented challenge to their very survival,” said Randy Peers, President & CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. 

“Now more than ever we need to provide these businesses with increased support so they can remain open and viable well into the future.   The programs announced today offer new supports that can serve as a critical bridge to what will hopefully be a robust federal small business aid package.”

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