Tuesday, 15 September 2020 11:21

NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery program urges qualifying businesses and farms to apply for updated loan program

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RALEIGH — The NC Rural Center is urging qualifying businesses to apply for COVID-19 Rapid Recovery loans through the program deadline set for Oct. 15, 2020. After the most recent pandemic recovery legislation, signed by the governor last week, the small-business and family farm-based loan program has funds available to immediately loan to qualifying businesses statewide. 

The Rapid Recovery program was initially launched in late March to support small business owners and family farms in the wake of the pandemic. To-date the program has distributed 1,062 loans to North Carolina small businesses. To further support this community, the loan program has adapted, based on loan applicant feedback, to provide technical support for small-business owners and extended loan repayment timelines. Under the new guidelines, businesses and farms may borrow up to $250,000 with no payments and 0.25 percent interest for the first 18 months.  

"This program was launched this spring as an urgent response to the historic economic crisis facing the backbone of our state's economy — small businesses and family farms," said NC Rural Center President Patrick Woodie. "We appreciate the confidence given to the Rapid Recovery program once again by state leaders, and these program changes will allow the program to better serve business owners and farmers dealing with the long term impacts of the pandemic." 

The NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Program launched three days before the CARES Act was signed into law. The program started with an initial $15 million in funding from the Golden LEAF Foundation and since that time, private and public entities, including the North Carolina General Assembly, supported by the Governor, have expanded the program's available lending capital.  

To address the ongoing challenges presented by the pandemic and help boost this loan program to as many potential businesses as possible, the NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program offers technical assistance for business owners seeking to complete an application, including credit counselors to help business owners better understand their loan options. The loan's terms have also expanded from a 60-month repayment term to a 102-month repayment term.  

The NC Rural Center is promoting available loans to communities statewide to reach a broad range of businesses including newly qualifying businesses, existing borrowers who may be eligible for additional funds, and potential borrowers who started the application process, but did not continue for various reasons. In addition, the program is sharing Rapid Recovery information with its funding partners; as well as association groups whose members may qualify for the loans.   

"Hundreds of Restaurant and Lodging businesses have already turned to the Rapid Recovery program to help them stay afloat," said Lynn Minges, president of the NC Restaurant & Lodging Association. "Expanding the program to offer loans up to $250,000 with 18 months of no payments makes it a very useful tool to help businesses in the most affected industries as they adapt to the realities of the pandemic."  

To-date, the loan program has administered more than 1,000 Rapid Recovery loans, totaling more than $37 million. Currently, 64 percent of the approved NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery loans are to historically underutilized businesses (HUB), which are primarily women- and minority-owned businesses. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 31 percent of employer businesses in North Carolina meet the HUB definition. Additionally, of the loans made, approximately 77 percent have been to businesses with fewer than 10 employees. 

 "We are committed to raising awareness that these funds are available through this carefully vetted and proven loan program that's geared to help small businesses stay on their feet by helping them make payroll, pay rent or pay vendors," said Woodie. "The State and our partners stand with North Carolina's businesses — not only during the good times, but also during the tough times we are currently facing." 

For information about eligibility, loan terms, and necessary documentation, visit the NC Rapid Recovery FAQ page. Applicants can contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to be connected with technical assistance. The deadline to apply is Oct. 15, 2020.