On March 20, 2020, Invest Atlanta launched a new loan fund to ensure the viability of businesses in the city of Atlanta in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new Business Continuity Loan Fund provides zero-interest loans to help businesses sustain their employee base and maintain operations during this period of economic shock. The fund is for small businesses located in the city of Atlanta that are experiencing economic distress from COVID-19.
Invest Atlanta acted quickly to establish the fund because small businesses account for a critical portion of Atlanta’s economy. Of the approximately twenty thousand businesses operating in the city of Atlanta, almost 95 percent have less than fifty employees and/or $500K in revenue.
Through the fund, businesses can apply for a loan between $5,000 and $30,000 to cover rent and mortgage payments, employee wages, inventory management, and for working capital. Loans have a zero percent interest rate and a 6 to 12-month deferment before the first payment is due. The loan term is not to exceed five years.
To be a qualified applicant for the BCLF, businesses must:
- Be an existing for-profit corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, or non-profit with for-profit activities in the city of Atlanta that contributes to trade.
- Be current on all financial obligations related to the lease or mortgage agreement for the business.
- Have 50 or fewer full-time employees, i.e., employees working at least 30 hours per week or 130 hours per month.
- Have been in operations for 1 year
- Have a current City of Atlanta business license.
- Be current on all City of Atlanta taxes and fees.
According to the Institute for Business and Home Safety, an estimated 25 percent of businesses do not open again after a major disaster. Additionally, following a disaster, 90 percent of smaller companies fail within a year unless they can resume operations within five days.
More information on the BCLF program and qualifications can be found here.