A disaster-assistance loan fund, which will start out with modest funding but with the expectation it will grow, has been established to help small businesses in Southwest Colorado deal with COVID-19 losses.
Region 9 Economic Development District of Southwest Colorado has initially created the disaster-loan program with $125,000.
However, partnering agencies and nonprofits are expected to double that amount, and more funding in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act signed Friday by President Donald Trump could bolster the program.
Southwest Colorado small businesses that have closed or had their operations limited by COVID-19 business restrictions are eligible for the loans, ranging in size from $1,000 to $10,000, from the Disaster Assistance Loan Fund.
Eligible businesses can be located in La Plata, Montezuma, Archuleta, San Juan and Dolores counties.
Applications and information are now available on the homepage of Region 9’s website www.scan.org.
All funds will be 0% interest for the first six months. Disaster Assistance Loan applications will be accepted through April 9, with funding to begin shortly thereafter.
“We expect a high volume of requests and will do our best to create as much impact as possible,” said Brian Rose, Region 9 deputy director.
All applications not approved initially will be retained for re-consideration as additional funding is received by Region 9, Rose said.
“We will also be leveraging microloan programs in a variety of the counties and partnering with other regional providers to help our funds go as far as possible,” he said.
Region 9 is talking with additional funding partners, and Rose said matching contributions by other partners could double the size of the Disaster Assistance Loan Fund.
In addition, Region 9 is researching to see if small-business assistance provided in the CARES Act can be tapped to further bolster the fund.
More information about how CARES will allow funding to become available locally will begin to surface in coming weeks as the act gets digested and details are created by each of the agencies managing the funding, Rose said in an email.
A link to a list of all business support resources is also available on Region 9’s webpage and updated daily.
For more information about the disaster-assistance loan, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
In addition, the Small Business Development Center of Southwest Colorado has provided an outline of assistance provided to small businesses in the CARES Act.