At a time of massive, sustained business closures, the Wright County Economic Development Partnership is looking to provide assistance for small businesses struggling to remain afloat during these difficult times.
The WCEDP has initiated the COVID-19 Business Assistance Loan Program in response to the pandemic. In a news release put out by the WCEDP, the objectives of the program were explained.
“The safety measures implemented to protect people during the health emergency (pandemic) have potential to significantly affect small businesses. The WCEDP has decided it is in the best interest of the businesses and the overall economy of the area to create an emergency assistance fund for businesses that have been forced to close or significantly reduce their operations.”
The program will allocate up to $200,000 in short-term loans for “business survival.” The maximum loan amount will be $5,000 and will have no interest applied. The maximum length of the loans would be 24 months and loan payments can be deferred up to six months. Wright County Administrator Lee Kelly said this program would be operated by the WCEDP and it would be responsible for selecting the businesses that would be approved.
“The Economic Development Partnership has been working on a loan program to assist businesses during the COVID-19 period,” Kelly said. “Basically, the Economic Development Partnership will be doing the publicity on this, the notification on this and they will have a committee that will do the vetting. Where the county would come in is we would have the attorneys review the documents and the auditor would review the financial end.”
Commissioner Mike Potter said that the WCEDP program is looking to help bridge the gap for small businesses that have been struggling since the state ordered them to shut down in March.
“These loans are for those ‘Mom and Pop’ stores that are hurting right now,” Potter said. “The expectation is that a lot of small businesses aren’t going to re-open when this COVID crisis passes. The loan program is designed to help those who are on the edge of deciding whether they can afford to re-open or not to give them the assistance they need now to keep their heads of above water.”
The Wright County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved allowing the program to start taking loan applications.
To see the parameters of the loan program and what businesses qualify to apply for funding, click here: http://www.co.wright.mn.us/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Item/8138?fileID=17336
For a loan application form, click here: http://www.co.wright.mn.us/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Item/8138?fileID=17337