The Golden LEAF Foundation announces $15 million in funding to launch a rapid recovery loan program in response to economic losses related to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Golden LEAF funding will support the N.C. COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program by enabling loans to be made to eligible businesses for up to $50,000 with zero interest and no payments for six months. If not repaid in six months, the loan will automatically convert to a term loan.

The N.C. COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program (https://ncrapidrecovery.org) is managed by the N.C. Rural Center, a statewide nonprofit that has been supporting small business owners for more than 30 years. The Rural Center will lead a broad coalition of nonprofit lending partners to directly assist small business owners. Participating Rapid Recovery organizations include Business Expansion Funding Corporation, Carolina Small Business Development Fund, Mountain BizWorks, Natural Capital Investment Fund and Thread Capital.

“The Golden LEAF Board of Directors is making funds available to help meet the immediate needs of businesses affected by the pandemic by building upon a model used following Hurricanes Matthew, Florence, and Dorian,” said Bo Biggs, Golden LEAF board chair. “This program is designed to assist businesses working to apply for a Small Business Administration Economic Injury Loan or other commercial loan but that have more immediate needs for capital.”

The federal government has made Economic Injury Loans available through the SBA in all 100 North Carolina counties. The N.C. COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program will complement the SBA by providing a bridge until businesses can access funding from the SBA.

Small-business owners affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) can learn more about the N.C. COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program and apply for a loan at https://ncrapidrecovery.org. To speak with someone about this program or other resources available to small businesses contact BLNC at 800-228-8443.