SUPERVISORS CONTINUE SUPPORT FOR SMALL BUSINESSES AND EMPLOYEES
SAN JOSE – The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors this week authorized $4.3 million in additional loan funds for the State’s California Rebuilding Fund (CARF) earmarked for Santa Clara County small businesses. The program aims to aid small businesses still struggling with the lingering effects of COVID-19.
“Small businesses are job creators,” said County Supervisor Joe Simitian. “They provide essential goods and services, and often do double-duty, serving as hubs for our neighborhoods.”
The additional loan funding continues small business support initially proposed by Simitian in October 2020. That action led to the County’s development of a $25 million loan fund in cooperation with CARF, and an initial investment of $6 million for the small business loan program in early 2021.
CARF is a public-private partnership that sources capital from private, public, and philanthropic sources aimed at increasing access for small businesses in under-banked communities. Santa Clara County small businesses who qualify may apply for:
- A loan up to $100,000;
- With an annual percentage rate of 4.25%; and,
- Either a 60-month or 36-month term.
Unlike the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, small businesses can use CARF funds for:
- Working capital;
- Inventory and supplies;
- Property taxes;
- Rent; or
- Retrofitting for new social distancing guidelines.
“The loan came just in time for us to refinance,” says Hyunjin Ji, a CARF loan recipient. “We would’ve been paying ridiculous interest on other loans. CARF gave us a much better interest rate. We got our expenses down, we were able to get it down to a good amount.”
“Sadly what we’re seeing today,” said Beth Bafford from Calvert Impact Capital , the lead arranger of the Rebuilding Fund, “is that small businesses, the lifeblood of our community, are having a harder and harder time getting access to the capital they need from main street banks. That’s why programs like CARF centered on community-based lenders where the County can be part of something larger than itself, but with a focused carve out for it’s own business sector, can make a big difference.”
The failure of the Senate last week to reinfuse $49 billion into the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), coupled with the depletion of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program funds at the end of 2021, leaves small businesses with fewer and fewer options to access capital to keep their businesses afloat.
“The persistent effects of COVID on our small businesses and their employees have been devastating,” says Simitian. “Despite their resiliency, and the ability to pivot to new business models, our small businesses still need help.”
Simitian said the program, “is particularly appealing because the funds are ultimately repaid to the County, are used to supplement an existing State program and allow small businesses to keep employees on the job with continued employment.”
To learn more about the program or begin the application process, please visit: caloanfund.org.