New fund offers loans to small and minority businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic



Applications are open for a new fund to help small businesses in the South recover from the long-term economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

IN Southern Opportunity and Sustainability Foundation finances loans of up to $ 100,000 to small businesses in North Carolina and 14 other states.

The program was created by 13 community development financial institutions to support small and minority-owned businesses. The SOAR fund currently has $ 50 million but is raising funds for an additional $ 100 million.

In North Carolina Natural capital investment fund CDFI will fund loans to state small business owners.

“Its goal is to support small businesses with fewer than 50 employees affected by COVID-19,” said Rick Larson, senior vice president of the Natural Capital Investment Fund.

Unlike the payroll protection program, SOAR Fund loans do not have the option of forgiveness and will have to be repaid. But interest rates are low; Larson says interest rates on loans are 4% for businesses and 3% for nonprofits.

“No good lender, and certainly any CDFI like ours, is going to lend to a company that is going to leave that company in a worse position than it was before they got the loan,” Larson said.

Its goal is to provide financial support to small and minority businesses that need money the most.

“We can better reach women and minority borrowers simply by focusing on their needs, focusing on the right size companies — those with 50 or fewer employees — and giving them the money they need, up to $ 100,000 at good interest rates, ”Larson said.

Money from the SOAR fund can be used for inventory, marketing and rent, among others. To date, more than 800 enterprises have applied for participation in the SOAR Fund. Web site in 15 eligible states.


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