The Columbus Small Business Loan program, Columbus INvigorate, has opened up the second round to assist small businesses adversely impacted by COVID-19. The first round was closed on April 30 with approximately $700,000 being disbursed to over 40 local businesses in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $25,000. Initial funding for this program was $1 million, leaving around $300,000 available. 

To be eligible, the business must be inside City of Columbus boundaries, needs to have been established and operating by January 1, have fewer than 50 employees, have no more than $2,000,000 in gross receipts, and show a decline in sales as a result of the pandemic. Two years of personal and company tax returns are required to be submitted as well as profit and loss statements for 2019 and the first six months of 2020. Submitted documentation will be analyzed to ensure that parameters of the program are met, that the business was viable before the public health crisis, and that the business is financially capable of paying back the loan. In addition, a personal guaranty is required of all owners. A further stipulation is that funds be used for ordinary and necessary business expenses and not debt consolidation. Businesses must commit to remain open and retain employees. 

Applications are due by the September 30 deadline. However, the date and time of application will be noted with funds loaned on a first come first served basis for those businesses that meet eligibility criteria. Interested businesses are encouraged to submit applications as soon as possible due to a limited amount of funding remaining. 

Loans will carry a 1% interest rate and have a six-month interest and principal deferral period. 

For more information and an application, go to the Columbus INvigorate website page. Applications are available in both English and Spanish.