Groups Launch InvestNOLA COVID Relief Loan Fund
NEW ORLEANS (press release) – The New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA), the City of New Orleans, and other partners, including LiftFund, NewCorp, Inc., and TruFund Financial, have announced a major new initiative to support the capital needs of local small businesses during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. The InvestNOLA COVID Relief Loan Fund announced during today’s press conference and webinar was made possible through a $2M investment from the City and additional funding from the InvestNOLA Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Consortium.
This new loan program will provide critically needed capital for businesses located in Orleans Parish. Business owners can apply for loan amounts between $10-50K at 6% APR with loan terms up to five and half years to ensure their growth and recovery through the pandemic. The first six months of payments may be deferred, and the final 10% of the principal loan amount will be forgiven at the end of the loan term.
While Congress passed the $349B CARES Act and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in March 2020, many local small businesses were left unfunded and unserved by the program, necessitating an additional $310B in funding and earmarking approximately $30B for CDFIs. While more minority-owned, small, and micro businesses received funding in Phase 2 of the PPP program, many did not as a result of the complex design and numerous program changes that were implemented throughout its duration. Additionally, their most pressing financial needs were not always consistent with the PPP or other federal loan funding guidelines, resulting in a serious lack of available resources during their greatest time of need.
Since the onset of the pandemic, NOLABA has worked tirelessly with the City and its CDFI partners to meet the needs of New Orleans’ businesses, with a special focus on businesses located in disinvested neighborhoods and those owned by people of color and women. Those efforts included the launch of its virtual InvestNOLA Fall Training Series, a free, five-part business course adapted from its award-winning InvestNOLA program that provided critical insights for business sustainability. The launch of the Resilient Corridors Initiative assisted businesses located in Impact communities served by NOLABA’s Strategic Neighborhood Development programming through grants and customized technical and professional services.