Golden LEAF receives $125M in funding to support NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program

Today, the Golden LEAF Board of Directors took action in response to House Bill 1043. The bill includes $125 million to provide grants to entities for the purpose of making loans to assist small businesses affected by the economic impact of COVID-19.

The Board modified the terms of the existing NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program to align with the provisions of the bill. Effective today, loans made from the program to small businesses will include a limit on the number of employees per business, a minimum interest rate for the first six months of the loan term, and an increased time for repayment.

The NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program was launched on March 24 with an initial allocation of $15 million provided by Golden LEAF. Applications were quickly submitted well in excess of the available funding. Golden LEAF worked with the Office of Governor Roy Cooper and leadership of the North Carolina General Assembly to appropriate the additional funds to support this program and address identified demand. With this additional funding in place, applications will continue to be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Golden LEAF Board Chair Bo Biggs said, “The Golden LEAF Foundation Board of Directors thanks the Governor and General Assembly for their leadership. We are honored that Golden LEAF can serve as a trusted conduit for much needed resources to assist small businesses during this crisis.”

“The significant volume of applications in the pipeline is indicative of the severity of the statewide economic impact COVID-19 has had on North Carolina’s small businesses,” said Golden LEAF Foundation President Scott T. Hamilton. “Today’s action will enable the program to continue to provide much needed support to the State’s small businesses, especially those most at risk for permanent closure.”

“Today, North Carolina’s small business owners are facing an unprecedented economic challenge–and it will take a sustained statewide effort to support them through this crisis,” said NC Rural Center President Patrick Woodie, whose organization manages the program in partnership with Golden LEAF. “The NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery program would not have been possible without the quick response and ‘can-do’ attitude of our partners, Golden LEAF’s ongoing support, and the confidence of the North Carolina General Assembly.”

The NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program offers low interest loans of up to $50,000 with no payments for six month to businesses affected by COVID-19. If not repaid in six months, the loan will automatically convert to a term loan.

The Rural Center acts as a program administrator, managing the flow of loan applications to lending partners for underwriting and servicing. Lending partners include Business Expansion Funding Corporation (BEFCOR), Carolina Small Business Development Fund, Mountain BizWorks, Natural Capital Investment Fund, Piedmont Business Capital, Sequoyah Fund, and Thread Capital.

Small-business owners affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19) can learn more about the NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program and apply for a loan at https://ncrapidrecovery.org/ or to speak with someone about this program or other resources available to small businesses contact Business Link North Carolina (BLNC) at 800.228.8443.

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About Golden LEAF
The Golden LEAF Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1999 to receive a portion of North Carolina’s funding received from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with cigarette manufacturers. For 20 years, Golden LEAF has worked to increase economic opportunity in North Carolina’s rural and tobacco-dependent communities through leadership in grantmaking, collaboration, innovation, and stewardship as an independent and perpetual foundation.

The Foundation has provided lasting impact to tobacco-dependent, economically distressed and rural areas of the state by helping create 65,000 jobs, over half a billion dollars in new payrolls and more than 84,000 workers trained or retrained for higher wages. To learn more about the Golden LEAF Foundation, visit www.goldenleaf.org or call 252.442.7474.

About the NC Rural Center
For more than 30 years, the NC Rural Center has worked to develop, promote, and implement sound economic strategies to improve the quality of life of rural North Carolinians. The Center serves the state’s 80 rural counties, with a special focus on individuals with low-to-moderate incomes and communities with limited resources. To learn more about the NC Rural Center, visit www.ncruralcenter.org.

Program Background
The NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program is driven by a partnership between the Golden LEAF Foundation and the NC Rural Center, as well as a consortium of established North Carolina nonprofit lenders, including Business Expansion Funding Corporation (BEFCOR), Carolina Small Business Development Fund, Mountain Bizworks, Natural Capital Investment Fund, Piedmont Business Capital, Sequoyah Fund, and Thread Capital. The Golden LEAF Foundation provided initial funding for this program, and capacity to meet the current demand has been expanded through funds appropriated by the N.C. General Assembly as well as by public and private contributions. The Rural Center acts as a program administrator, managing the flow of loan applications to lending partners for underwriting and servicing.

The NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan program supports North Carolina small businesses and family farms as they grapple with, and recover from, the economic impact of COVID-19. This rapid recovery loan helps small businesses bridge the gap between when crisis strikes and when federal loans and other relief funds are approved, or businesses have time to recover. The NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan is supported by North Carolina entities and is for North Carolina businesses. It is designed to complement federal and other assistance programs, but it is not directly associated with the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Small-business owners affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19) can learn more about the NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program and apply for a loan at https://ncrapidrecovery.org/ or to speak with someone about this program or other resources available to small businesses contact Business Link North Carolina (BLNC) at 800.228.8443.

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