City and Mayor Announce Financial Help for Local Businesses

MEMPHIS – APRIL 13, 2020 – Mayor Jim Strickland announced today the creation of two City of Memphis micro-loan programs intended to assist Memphis businesses experiencing hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with an assistance grant program being developed by the Economic Development Growth Engine of Memphis & Shelby County (EDGE), the suite of programming is intended to serve as wide of a range of businesses as possible with assistance for working capital such as rent, payroll, and vendor payments.

“The impacts of COVID-19 have been felt by everyone, but our small businesses are some of those hit hardest by this pandemic,” Mayor Jim Strickland said. “With these new programs, we’re hoping to help these businesses to bridge the gap as we all work to get through this.”

The City’s Division of Housing & Community Development and Office of Business Diversity & Compliance are partnering on the Small Business Resiliency (SBR) loan fund, which will offer loans from $5,000 to $35,000 and will delay repayment for 90 days. Applicants must show proof of being denied by the Small Business Administration or a SBA lender, must be located within a distressed community within Memphis, must be in business for at least three years, and must be certified with the City’s Office of Business Diversity & Compliance. The funds for the program are from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant program.

The Economic Hardship Emergency (EHE) loan fund will offer loans from $2,000 to $5,000 and no interest for six months. Businesses and their owners must be located within the City of Memphis, have less than $1 million in annual revenue, be in business for at least three years, and be certified with the OBDC.

For more information or to get started, contact OBDC at 636-9300, 636-6210 or email Loan Administrator Jerry Brack at jerry.brack@memphistn.gov. Applications will open Tuesday for the EHE loan fund, and by early May for the SBR fund. There are no fees to apply.

The EDGE grant program, Neighborhood Emergency Economic Development (NEED), is subject to approval by the EDGE Board of Directors, which will meet electronically Wednesday. The NEED program would offer between $5,000 and $10,000 to businesses that have suffered a 25 percent or greater reduction in revenue and have a survival and recovery plan, with $5,000 for businesses that are temporarily closed due to the pandemic and between $5,000 and $10,000 for businesses that remain open.

NEED recipients must be located within New Market Tax Credit Qualified Census Tracts, have been open before March 1, 2019, and have revenue of less than $1 million. NEED recipients do not have to be SWMBE certified.

For more information about the NEED program, visit www.growth-engine.org, email NEED@growth-engine.org or call 901-341-2100.

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