The city of Bakersfield on Friday unveiled a new $ 1.9 million program designed to help local small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic by offering forgivable loans of up to $ 50,000 depending on size of their payroll.
Applications for the new ReStart Loan-to-Grant program will be accepted online starting at 8:00 a.m. Monday. Eligible recipients must be located within city limits, have 25 full-time employees or less, and report annual revenues not to exceed $ 2 million, among other requirements.
The program is at least the third wave of pandemic relief money offered by the city. It is funded by the federal Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus money.
Demand for the money is likely to be strong as small businesses have, for a variety of reasons, had a harder time obtaining financial assistance during the crisis, said Kelly Bearden, director of the Small Business Development Center at Cal State Bakersfield.
“It’s another tool in the old shed,” he said.
The city said applications are expected to be accepted until November 30 or until the new fund runs out. He said companies receiving money under the program can spend it on salaries, operating expenses, insurance, rent, supplies or utilities.
The loans will be canceled if the recipients are still operating 12 months after receiving the money, according to guidelines released Friday. Until then, they have to pay only 3 percent interest each month.
Nonprofit businesses are not eligible, as are churches, lending institutions, or businesses related to gaming or adult entertainment.
Sole proprietorships are limited to one loan and the amount is calculated at $ 2,500 per employee.
The program will be administered by Access Plus Capital, a branch of the Fresno Community Development Financial Institution.
Last month, the city launched a separate ReStart program specifically targeting micro-businesses. It provided a total of $ 70,000 in grants ranging from $ 3,500 to $ 5,000 each for businesses with five or fewer full-time employees.
Previously, the city’s B-Cares program, also funded by federal sources, had given nearly $ 6 million to 938 businesses affected by the pandemic.
Application information for the ReStart Loan-to-Grant program is available by calling Access Plus Capital at (661) 448-2133, or Bakersfield’s Women’s Business Center: (661) 567-0410. Information is also available online at https://www.accesspluscapital.com/covid-relief/.