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Last week, BhamFort announced that they had approved sixty-six emergency loans for Birmingham small businesses in response to the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 crisis.
Emergency loan fund
According to BhamStrong, the mission of the emergency loan fund is to help preserve Birmingham small businesses and support Birmingham workers. To date, approved loans total over $ 1.5 million and range between $ 10,000 and $ 25,000. The BBRC continues to review applications and anticipates that another group of companies will soon be approved for the remaining $ 400,000 in loans.
In March, the fund was made possible when the city of Birmingham allocated $ 1.2 million to the BhamStrong emergency loan fund. Businesses in the region donated an additional $ 900,000 to the fund.
As of April 24, 2020:
- 32 of the 66 companies are owned by minorities
- 9 of the 66 companies are owned by veterans
- 28 of the 66 awarded companies are owned by women
Two recipients – Global Staffing Company & SÃ©jours
The impact of emergency loans is immeasurable.
âBhamStrong is a lifeline,â said Greg Minard, CEO of Global Staffing Co at Bham Now.
Minard’s Business is a hotel staffing company that supplies hotel cleaners, cooks, and dishwashers to restaurants and banqueting services. Currently, less than 20% of its staff are unable to work at this time.
Without the emergency loan, Minard’s business risked closing.
âWe wouldn’t have been able to do the payroll last week,â he said. The city has done us a great service in helping us and we appreciate that. It’s great that we live in a city where they can help small businesses. Small businesses are the backbone of the community. For them to react early and get the loans in a timely manner was the key. “
BhamStrong’s emergency loan program also came to the rescue of small retail stores. Sojourns Fair Trade, on 3rd Avenue North in Birmingham city center, got a loan.
As a micro-business it means everything that my city supports me and knows that I am considered valuable to our community, âsaid Melissa Kendrick, owner of Sojourns. âI have been here for 15 years. We were one of the first retail stores to open here, trying to pave the way for downtown revitalization. It means the world to me Birmingham saysâ¦ Yes you are an important part of the revitalization of the city center and we want to make sure that you are still there. I am grateful, humble and excited.
According to BBRC Executive Director Bob Dickerson, the loans granted cover a variety of businesses that collectively have a broad impact in the community.
âWe have met our goals in terms of diversity and geography and have made sure to help businesses stay in place, even after the pandemic,â Dickerson said. âThe types of businesses that have received loans cover everything from restaurants to beauticians and daycares. There are about 10 different industries covered in the companies that applied for the loans. ”
Even though the deadline to apply for the emergency loan funds was March 27. Financial assistance is still available for small businesses through the SBA’s Economic Disaster Loan Program and the Federal Paycheck Protection Program. Small businesses or non-profit organizations that do not currently have a relationship with a bank or lender can visit bhamstrong.com for more information on how to work with Hope Credit Union to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program loan.
Stay Safe Birmingham
Stay tuned for future updates. We are all in there. Support our local businesses by visiting Bham Now’s local business (477 businesses) and non-profit (97 non-profit groups) directories.