At last week’s meeting of the Macon County Board of Commissioners, the board voted to approve the establishment of a small business loan program for Macon County businesses and appropriated $257,500 to be drawn from the Economic Development Commission fund.
The program will provide low-interest loans to severely impacted small businesses in Macon County, helping them to remain open.
Loan amounts range from $2,500 to $10,000 and are available to businesses located, or based, in Macon County, have between 1 and 49 employees, been in business at least 12 months and have suffered a loss of revenue of 25% or more due to COVID-19.
“COVID-19 has greatly impacted Macon County’s economy and the recovery will take time,” said Jim Tate, Chairman of the Macon County Board of Commissioners. “Providing financial resources for local businesses will play an essential part in reopening our economy.”
Additional partners supporting the fund include the Franklin Chamber of Commerce, the Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, SCC’s Small Business Center and Western Carolina University’s Small Business and Technology Development Center.
According to Ronnie Beale, Macon County Commissioner Vice-Chair, “The Reopening Macon Fund will provide much needed assistance to our small business community. Many do not have the resources to weather a long-term recovery. A loan of $2500 or $5000 could make the difference in surviving or being forced to close.”
Mountain BizWorks, a non-profit community financial institution based out of Asheville, will be the administrator of the Reopening Fund, providing loan processing and underwriting services.
This is not a grant program
Reopening Macon Fund small business loans are designed to be flexible and rapid sources of low-interest loan capital to help local Macon County businesses meet pressing needs and navigate the COVID-19 crisis. Repayment is expected either from more permanent funding sources (like SBA Disaster Loans) or from the future cash flow of the business.
Loans are available for up to $10,000, based on the business’s pre-COVID-19 revenue. Loan agreements are structured as follows:
• Six months of no payments required at 4% (interest accruing), followed by 36 months of principal and interest payments at 5.5% interest.
• There are no prepayment penalties.
• Defaulted loans are subject to collections.
Who is eligible?
• For-profit businesses
• Have a physical location and be principally based in Macon County (see our COVID loans page for options for those not in the county)
• Have between 1 and 50 employees
• Have been in business for at least 12 months
• Demonstrated loss of revenue of 25% or more due to COVID-19
• Any individual with greater than 20% ownership in the applying business must personally guarantee the loan.
• Proceeds from the loan may only be used for maintaining or restarting a business. Eligible uses include payroll, accounts payable, fixed debts, or other bills the business is unable to pay due to the effects of the COVID-19 crisis.
• Agree to provide impact data
• Borrowers are required to assign the proceeds of future SBA EIDL loans or other federal assistance programs to the repayment of their Reopening Macon Loan. (PPP funds and the EIDL grants are excluded from this)
Logistics & timeline
• The Reopening Macon Fund was launched and applications opened June 12.
• Applications will be accepted as long as funds are available.
• Businesses interested in applying should be prepared to complete an online application and provide tax returns, profit and loss statements, and bank statements.
• The partners in this program are committed to moving as fast as possible to assist businesses. We are aiming to fund requests on a weekly basis as long as funds are available.
• Loans are subject to the availability of funds. The partners know that the need is greater than the current fund size. We’re working to expand the available pool so that we can assist as many in our community as possible.
Locals businesses can apply online at www.mountainbizworks.org/reopeningmaconfund or contact the Macon County Economic Development Commission at 828.369.2306.