Written by Gabriel Dillard
The Fresno City Council on Wednesday approved a $750,000 micro loan program for businesses that have been shut down or otherwise impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
The no-interest loans could be forgiven after a year if the business continues to operate. Council members said the relief fund is meant to help companies remain open and rehire staff as well as shore up the city’s tax base. Assistance will be structured as a 0% interest loan and the owner of the business will sign a personal guarantee.
Businesses with 25 or fewer employees may be eligible for 0% interest loans.
For a businesses to qualify, it must: be located in the city of Fresno, not have any unpaid judgments or tax liens, have a valid businesses license from the city filed before March 4,2020, have been operating for more than one year prior to the mentioned date, have been required to close or reduce operations by the city’s emergency order, and demonstrate a loss of 25% or more of revenue due to COVID-19.
“The idea is to help these businesses stay viable,” said Councilmember Mike Karbassi.
About $500,000 of the fund was reappropriated from a project to build a senior center and $250,000 comes from the city attorney’s budget. Donations from the public will also be accepted.
To apply, businesses should contact the city’s Economic Development Department.