Applications now open for 0% interest loan program

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Office of Community Development opened the loan application process on May 26 for small businesses and nonprofits affected by severe flooding last year. Total funding currently available for the Restore Louisiana Small Business Program is $51.2 million for loans and costs to implement the program. The program offers no interest, partially forgivable loans to qualified businesses.
The program provides assistance to eligible businesses and non-profit organizations through five community lenders who will administer the funds. The application, guidelines and lenders can be found at www.doa.la.gov and clicking the links for Small Business Assistance.
“These community lenders will make loans to small businesses in the 51 disaster-declared parishes to provide working capital and funds to repair or replace movable equipment and machinery,” said LaSonta Davenport, economic development manager of the Office of Community Development. “The first phase will go to those who provide essential goods or services to an impacted community, places such as grocery stores, pharmacies, healthcare providers, daycares, restaurants and others.”
The loans can be used for working capital ‒ rent, mortgage, utilities, non-owner employee wages and inventory, and movable equipment. However, construction-related expenses are not eligible.
Eligible businesses can qualify for loans between $20,000 and $50,000 through the program. If borrowers comply with requirements, provide necessary documentation and make payments as agreed, the loan will be interest free and 20% of the loan will be forgiven when 80% of the principal is repaid.
Businesses can apply May 26 through June 30 with qualified businesses receiving loans in mid-July through the end of the year.
Small businesses that qualify for the assistance program will be referred to Small Business Development Centers for the technical assistance portion of the program. Eligible businesses will get help with business recovery and continuity plans, financial projecting and planning, and disaster preparedness planning.
The program is funded through the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Program from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Louisiana Department of Economic Development and other federal, state and local economic development partners worked with OCD to create the Restore Louisiana Small Business Assistance Program.