Small businesses in Colorado Springs and El Paso County affected by the COVID-19 pandemic can now apply for up to $25,000 in funds aimed at providing emergency financial relief.
The low-interest loan program, called "Survive & Thrive COS," comes from the non-profit startup accelerator Exponential Impact, in partnership with the City of Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Community Foundation.
Hannah Parsons, board member of Exponential Impact, says because it is a local loan program, they're able to turn around funding within a week of application. And, she says, they're not asking for collateral.
"Our goal is to make this no-barrier and get funding into the business hands as quickly as possible," she says.
High priority businesses include the food industry, retail shops, and other businesses that have been forced to close, are struggling to pay rent and utilities, and have had to lay off staff as a result of COVID-19.
"This is going to allow our local businesses to weather the storm, and when we are back, and we are going to be back, it's going to put them in a position to be able to thrive," said Bob Cope with the city's Economic Development department.
Business with the equivalent of 2-25 full time employees are eligible to apply. Funds will be distributed over a three-month period. The repayment process would span, at most, three years, with 0% interest and no payments required in the first year. Interest will increase by 1% over each of the next two years.
Funding for the program comes from investments by local leaders, organizations and business professionals. Parsons says they have more than $1 million committed for the program, with a goal of reaching $5 million committed as soon as possible.