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Harrisonburg creates loan program to support local businesses affected by COVID-19

Published: Mar. 19, 2020 at 1:41 PM EDT
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As small businesses continue to grapple with the effects of COVID-19, the city of Harrisonburg is rolling out a loan program to benefit those affected.

The Harrisonburg Disaster Impact Loan Program

The Harrisonburg Economic Development Department announced on Thursday that they will soon start the process of issuing loans of up to $5,000 to aid small businesses that have struggled due to the virus.

The Harrisonburg Disaster Impact Loan Program will provide interest-free loans on a 3-year term, with no payments for up to 90 days after the funds are distributed to the business.

Any business that plans to apply must have been established and operational in the city for at least the past 6 months. The loans can be used for payroll for employees, utility costs, inventory, and rent.

But due to a limited amount of funds the city has available, not all loans will be approved.

Applications will be reviewed and accepted on a rolling basis, with the reviews being carried out by a loan review committee. The applications are on the

.

“Our local business community is the lifeblood of Harrisonburg, and we are dedicated to doing what we can to support you during this difficult time,” Harrisonburg Director of Economic Development Brian Shull said. “We encourage anyone with questions to contact our office, or to reach out to any member of the Regional COVID-19 Business Support Taskforce.”

Anyone with questions can contact Peirce Macgill at Harrisonburg Economic Development at (540) 432-7701.

The Regional COVID-19 Business Support Taskforce

In addition to the loan program, Harrisonburg’s Economic Development Department is a member of the Regional COVID-19 Business Support Taskforce that is working to find other ways to address concerns in the business community.

According to a statement issued on Thursday, representatives from the City of Harrisonburg Economic Development; Rockingham Department of Economic Development and Tourism; the Shenandoah Valley Partnership; the Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development Center (SVSBDC); Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance; and the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce will meet every week as a part of that taskforce to brainstorm ideas, curate resources, share information, and unify efforts to address business and employer concerns at the local level from the coronavirus crisis.

At their first meeting, the new task force says they did the following:

• Coordinated numerous state and federal alerts and proposed programs for business support and funding.

• Distilled information on the first emergency small business loan program, through the Small Business Administration with local support through the SVSBDC.

• Collected data from area employers and the local economy to share with state agencies and federal departments and authorities to assess impacts and support economic relief efforts.

• Began developing a video that educates the public on how and why they should support local businesses during this unprecedented time.

• Worked to launch a continually updated, one-stop shop Google Doc that consolidates COVID-19 business assistance programs and toolkits.

SBA loans

On Wednesday, Governor Ralph Northam

that Virginia would be submitting an application to the Small Business Administration to authorize Virginia businesses to receive loans through the SBA’s Disaster Loan program.

The SBA’s Disaster Loan program is designed to help small businesses and nonprofits meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot otherwise be met as a direct result of COVID-19.

To learn more about the program, the Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development Center has

. You can also find more directly through the SBA at

.

The task force says their members "are all working tirelessly on keeping up with fast developing and changing developments, particularly at the federal and state level. Elected officials are keenly aware of the economic impacts of COVID-19 and the measures implemented to stop its spread. The hope is that the actions taken at the federal, state and local levels will result in a faster end to the virus’ impact and a return to a normal business climate.

They encourage people to buy gift cards from local businesses now to help with cash flow so their doors can reopen in the future. They also urge people to shop online and take advantage of the curbside pickups, deliveries, takeout options, or online shopping options offered by local stores.

Task force members include the following:

City of Harrisonburg Economic Development

Brian Shull, Peirce Macgill

Brian.Shull@harrisonburgva.gov

Peirce.Macgill@harrisonburgva.gov

(540) 432-7701

Rockingham Department of Economic Development and Tourism

Casey Armstrong, Josh Gooden

jjgooden@rockinghamcountyva.gov

(540) 437-9868

Shenandoah Valley Partnership

Jay Langston

jlangston@theshenandoahvalley.com

(540) 568-3100

Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development Center

Joyce Krech, Allison Dugan

krechjh@jmu.edu

duganaj@jmu.edu

(540) 568-3227

Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance

Andrea Dono

Andrea.Dono@harrisonburgva.gov

(540) 432-8922

Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce

Frank Tamberrino

frank@hrchamber.org

(540)434-3862