The U.S. Economic Development Administration has awarded $1.5 million in funding for loans to small businesses in Southwest Oregon.
U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio announced the award this week. He had urged the federal agency to make the money available.
The money comes from the Coronavirus Aid Relief, and Economic Security Act, better known as CARES.
It will go to the Coos Curry Douglas Business Development Corporation, which will distribute the loans to businesses that have suffered economic harm due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The unparalleled economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted small businesses across Oregon,” DeFazio said. “I’m proud to have secured these funds that will help Oregon’s small businesses keep their doors open while we recover from this unprecedented crisis.”
CCD Executive Director Theresa Haga said the nonprofit organization will have 24 months to get the money into business owners’ hands.
The program is similar to an existing Economic Development Administration revolving loan program handled by CCD, but this one is more flexible and has a lower interest rate.
Loans of up to $250,000 will be available, and they are especially geared toward businesses that are unable to secure the loans they need through their bank.
Businesses in Coos, Curry, Douglas, Josephine and Jackson counties will be eligible.
“I think it’s really going to help businesses when capital starts getting tighter through recovery, and when they’re needing to access that to do whatever they need to do with equipment, inventory, working capital, whatever they might need. It’s going to be great,” Haga said.
Haga said she expects the need for the program to grow. Many businesses have made it through the early months of the pandemic by tapping into the Paycheck Protection Program or obtaining loan deferments from their lenders.
“We’re going to start to see the cracks, in my opinion, come November, December, and the first part of 2021 when some of that aid starts to fall off,” she said.