The Inside Story of COVID-Crushed Small Businesses and Their Comeback Hopes
Small businesses across the nation are still trying to make sense of it all. The ones who lost everything have hopes of piecing their lives back together. The ones who financially survived are united in their hopes of riding the wave back up. Their experiences illustrate every facet for which the coronavirus crisis will come to be known - including tales of those who were nimble enough to make it and those who were lucky enough to thrive.
USDA Has Invested $1.2B in Rural Businesses in 2021
USDA Rural Development announced that USDA is on track to provide a record level of support for rural working capital and other business capital needs in fiscal year 2021. The Department has invested $1.2 billion in loan guarantees to help rural businesses in 41 states. These investments – made through the Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program and the Business and Industry CARES Act Program – are expected to create or save more than 12,000 jobs for people in rural areas.
Reimagining Healthy Food Access With the Virginia Good Food Fund
Foodshed Capital has partnered with Virginia Community Capital and the Virginia Food Access Investment Fund to build sustainable resiliency and equity into food systems. The Virginia Good Food Fund (VGFF) is envisioned to be a network of food system partners, lenders, funders, technical assistance providers, and other stakeholders who work together and combine our resources to support producers and suppliers.
SBA Raises COVID Disaster Loan Cap to $2M, Makes Other Highly Anticipated Changes
Complaints about the SBA's COVID-19 disaster loan program have made their way up the ladder and led to major changes, including boosting how much money business owners can get. The agency announced significant updates to its Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, which provides low-interest loans to businesses that were hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic. It's intended for companies with 500 or fewer employees.
Microloan Initiative Starts in Arkansas
The Imani Fund is a statewide pilot program that offers microloans ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 to underserved entrepreneurs and uses an innovative and creative approach to underwriting. The underwriting process will emphasize the character of business owners, their ability to execute on their business model, and community engagement efforts.
Ohio's $10M Loan Fund for Women-Owned Businesses Aims to Help Them Thrive
For the first time ever, Ohio has a $10 million loan fund dedicated to women-owned businesses in its operating budget - as well as a matching fund for microenterprise minority businesses. The fund was made possible by the efforts of the Ohio Women's Coalition, a non-profit organization that works towards improving the economic condition of women throughout the state of Ohio through advocacy with state legislators and corporate entities.
I-80 Fund Expands Loan Opportunities in Rural Nevada
Nevada Gold Mines started the I-80 Fund during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic to provide loans to small businesses hurt by the pandemic, but the revolving loan fund now covers business needs for any reason – not just COVID-19 impact. The successful fund can now operate well into the future with loan payments coming back to the I-80 Fund to in turn support new loans.
Sen. Booker Sees Budget Reconciliation Advancing Debt Relief for Farmers of Color
The $4 billion debt relief program passed in March as part of the American Rescue Plan Act and would pay off USDA loans held by 16,000 "socially disadvantaged" farmers, a category used by USDA to describe Black, Native American, Alaskan Native, Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Hispanic and Latino farmers. But white farmers have filed at least 13 lawsuits against the program, including one class action, alleging it is racially discriminatory.