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New program for small business loans for companies hit by COVID-19

(Gov. Gary Herbert addressing the economic impact of virus. Credit: Steve Griffin, Deseret News, file, March 20, 2020)

SALT LAKE CITY – Federal relief money is on the way, according to Governor Gary Herbert.  However, there are many small business owners feeling the financial pinch of COVID-19.  State economic officials are announcing a new program for small business loans to help small businesses get over current financial woes.

It’s called the Utah Leads Together Small Business Bridge Loan program.  Officials with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development made the announcement during a press conference Monday afternoon.

The program is aimed at helping companies with no more than 50 employees and GOED Executive Director Val Hale says it will provide small loans to help these businesses bridge their financial gap in the wake of the virus.

“Loan amounts range from $5,000 to $20,000 with 0 percent interest for a 60 month period,” Hale says.

However, the program is not necessarily going to help everyone. For example, non-profit organizations would not be eligible for the first round of loans.  Also, the loans can’t be worth more than three months of the company’s operating expense.

“GOED will determine the eligibility of the bridge loan applicants.  Applying is not a guarantee of funding,” Hale says.

At least 25 percent of the funds will go toward businesses in rural portions of the state.  Analysts with GOED will reportedly contact the applicant and let them know what their loan status is.  If they qualify, they won’t have to make any payments for 12 months.

Hale says, “The bridge loan program will use approximately $8 million in re-purposed state economic development funds, and we hope to add more funds in the future.”

Business owners can apply for the loans through the state’s main coronavirus website starting at 8 a.m. March 31.  The website also explains other criteria employers need to follow if they’re going to qualify.



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