Local, small businesses financial assistance application opens Tuesday
COLUMBIA - The City of Columbia Housing Programs Division's recovery loan program application will be open Tues. Sept. 15 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Microenterprise Recovery Loan Program gives financial assistance to small, local businesses. Those are eligible for the program can receive a $5,000 loan to cover any interruptions caused by COVID-19.
A list of requirements must be met and includes having five or fewer employees, having proof of a business license that was gathered prior to Jan. 1, 2020 and providing proof of current liability insurance.
One business owner, Dimetrious Woods of Woods Auto Spa and Munchi’s Fish & Chicc’n, said that this opportunity is helpful because small businesses are often overlooked.
“Oh, [we're] definitely the small guy. It's hard to compete, say even with their bigger industries, just in regular business. So you imagine with this unforeseen pandemic, the small guy really goes under the rug,” Woods said. “So it is a big thing and it makes our struggle a lot harder. And small businesses are for the community.”
Woods said he hopes to receive the loan so he can hire more employees.
“It's hard to hire employees, you know, you need workers to work, but you also need money to pay for those workers, and with the uncertainty, you don't want to jump out too far because that's the quickest way to lose a small business.”
Woods explained that this loan is important because small businesses are vital to the community.
“We're Columbia born and raised. So we are the people that put the money right back in the community," Woods said. "We're the people who give people confidence within the community. They look at us, and they see us do business. It gives them confidence to do business or even having personal services within the community.”
The division said there will be additional funding for different COVID-19 needs, but it needs direction from City Council on how funds would be used.