New loan program to distribute $ 2.9 million to Columbia small businesses
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – The coronavirus pandemic has had a financial impact on small businesses in South Carolina.
Columbia is launching a new loan program to help some of these businesses survive and hopefully grow. The city received $ 2.9 million from the US Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration (EDA) to establish the Resilient Columbia Cares Act revolving loan program.
Co-owner of Toliver’s Mane Event Hair Salon on North Main Street, Chris Toliver, says it took several months to get his business up and running after being closed for more than six weeks in the spring.
“We used to say in the barbershop that we would have the ability to cut our hair seven days a week, and nothing could stop us,” Toliver said. “Even when other businesses were closed, it just didn’t hit until it was our business. “
In June, Columbia City Council granted forgivable loans of up to $ 10,000 to small businesses like Toliver.
“They did a good job of cushioning the blow for us because without that money who knows what would have happened,” he explained.
Now, these businesses can charge up to $ 200,000 to help provide a safe working environment, to purchase necessary supplies, or even to grow.
“This will help us improve the ventilation system in the barber shop,” Toliver said. “It will also help us put plexiglass around the stations, and it can help us with some form of disinfectant spray. “
Columbia City Councilor Tameika Issac Devine said she has seen some of her favorite small businesses shut down for good, and the purpose of the money is to help keep as many small businesses alive as possible.
“We really hope this will help the businesses that have been hit very hard throughout the pandemic and allow them not only to stay in business, but to continue to grow,” Devine said.
These loans will be funded at 0% the first year and then increased to 2.5% for the remainder of the loan term. The city waives the application fee for these loans, as well as the minimum credit score of 600.
City Councilor Devine said the city’s business opportunities office will also meet with small business owners who may not have the documents to apply for PPP loans.
Because it’s a revolving loan program, City Councilor Devine says if businesses make their payments and the city is able to add additional federal funds to the program, they should be able to continue to help. businesses that need this money.
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