The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) approved a disaster declaration for North Carolina last week. This opens up access to disaster relief loans for small businesses facing dire circumstances due to the COVID-19 threat.

But the economic challenges facing many of Moore County’s employers are outpacing any assistance coming into the pipeline.

“Things are changing so fast,” said Linda Parsons, president and CEO of Moore County Chamber of Commerce. “Right now it’s tax credits and loans, not grants.”

Nevertheless, she encouraged business owners and nonprofit organizations to not wait until their situation is dire before they seek help.

“Put your information together and apply. If you end up finding another solution later, great,” Parsons said. “But get in line now.”

The Golden Leaf Foundation also announced this week that a consortium of public, private, and nonprofit partners have come together to launch an innovative recovery-lending program to help support entrepreneurs and stabilize North Carolina’s small business sector.

Through NC Rapid Recovery, small businesses in all 100 counties of North Carolina can apply for loan amounts of up to $50,000, based on the business’ current revenue. The funds can be used to maintain or to restart a business. For complete details and to apply, go to www.ncrapidrecovery.org.

SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact.

The business or nonprofit organization’s credit history will be reviewed as part of the application process. For requests under $25,000 no collateral will be required.

The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%. SBA loans also carry long-term repayment plans, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.

Any small business owner may apply online immediately at www.SBA.gov/disaster

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