The Golden Leaf Foundation announced this week that it will set aside $15 million in funding to launch a rapid recovery loan program in response to economic losses related to the coronavirus. Golden Leaf funding will support the NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program by enabling loans to be made to eligible businesses for up to $50,000 with zero interest and no payments for six months. If not repaid in six months, the loan will automatically convert to a term loan.
The NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program is managed by the NC Rural Center, a statewide nonprofit that has supporting small business owners for more than 30 years. The Rural Center will lead a broad coalition of nonprofit lending partners to directly assist small business owners. Participating Rapid Recovery organizations include Business Expansion Funding Corporation, Carolina Small Business Development Fund, Mountain BizWorks, Natural Capital Investment Fund and Thread Capital.
“Small businesses are more than just job providers, they are pillars of our communities,” Gov. Roy Cooper said. “They need our support now more than ever, and this program can help people across the state as we weather the effects of this pandemic.”
Speaker of the House Tim Moore said the timing of the aid is important. “This rapid response by the Golden Leaf Foundation to support North Carolinians through the COVID-19 crisis will provide immediate financial benefit for folks who are hurting during an uncertain economic upheaval, serving as a strong example of our state activating every asset available to help families and businesses in all 100 counties through this difficult time,” Moore said.
Senate Leader Phil Berger said cooperation will be critical. “This action by Golden Leaf is welcome news and much needed. Everybody – the private sector and local, state and federal governments – will need to work toward the common goal of restarting the economic engine, once this crisis passes,” Berger said.
“The Golden Leaf Board of Directors is making funds available to help meet the immediate needs of businesses affected by the pandemic by building upon a model used following Hurricanes Matthew, Florence and Dorian,” said Bo Briggs, Golden Leaf board chair. “This program is designed to assist businesses working to apply for a Small Business Administration Economic Injury Loan or other commercial loan, but that have more immediate needs for capital.”
The federal government has made Economic Injury Loans available through the SBA in all 100 N.C. counties. The NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program will complement the SBA by providing a bridge until businesses can access funding from the SBA.
“The Golden Leaf Foundation recognizes the critical role small business owners play in our state’s economy.” said Scott T. Hamilton, President, CEO of the Golden Leaf Foundation. “The ‘leaf’
in Golden Leaf stands for Long-term Economic Advancement Foundation. Golden Leaf cannot let this pandemic cause irreparable economic damage to our state’s small businesses.”
Small-business owners affected by COVID-19 can learn more about the Rapid Recovery Loan Program and apply for a loan at https://ncrapidrecovery.org/, or to speak with someone about this program or other resources available to small businesses, call 800-228-8443.