More money now available for Fort Worth small businesses hit by coronavirus

April 15,2020

Read full Star-Telegram article by Luke Ranker here

More than $1.7 million could be available for Fort Worth small businesses looking for relief during the novel coronaviurs outbreak from a partnership between PeopleFund and the city.

The city announced the Business Resiliency Microloan Program on Wednesday, with a commitment of at least $850,000 for small businesses hurt by the economic downturn. The number could go up if demand for the small loans is high.

Robert Sturns, Fort Worth’s economic development director, said the small-scale loans are primarily for companies with 25 or fewer employees and minority- or women-owned businesses that have not been successful in receiving federal or state relief funding.

The loans can be used to pay debts, payroll or cover other bills. At least 1,400 small businesses responded to a city survey saying their biggest concern is revenue to support payroll. Applications are available through PeopleFund’s

PeopleFund, a nonprofit small business lender, has provided $500,000 for the loan pool, while the city’s loan corporation is pitching in $350,000. If demand for the loans exceeds the initial $850,000, PeopleFund has a greed to contribute additional funds to at least $1.7 million total.

The loans carry zero interest and require no payments for the first six months. After that interest is capped at 5% for six years. They can be combined with other PeopleFund loans.

Loan amounts can reach up to $50,000, but at least half will be loans of $15,000 or less. At least 60% of the loan proceeds will be committed to boosting minority-owned businesses and people with low to moderate income.

PeopleFund set up a Texas COVID-19 Relief Fund with $3 million to support small businesses throughout the state. The organization has more than doubled the initial fund with an additional $2.5 million in capital and $1 million in grants, according to a city statement.

Federal programs available include the Paycheck Protection Program established through the CARES Act, which provides businesses and nonprofits with up to $10 million to cover eight weeks of payroll, rent and utilities. These loans can forgiven if 75% or more the funds go toward payroll. The Small Business Administration also provides up to $2 million in disaster relief.

Early this week Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced a similar program of $50 million in loans for small businesses.