News Update from Upper Savannah Council of Governments

CARES Act Funds Available for Loans to Businesses Affected by Pandemic

Businesses which were temporarily forced to close, experienced loss of revenue or were otherwise negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic might be eligible for business loans from the new Upper Savannah CARES Revolving Loan Fund (CARES RLF). Also, businesses whose products or services are in high demand due to the pandemic could be eligible.

The lending area includes Abbeville, Edgefield, Greenwood, Laurens, Lexington, McCormick, Newberry and Saluda counties.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided $1.5 billion to the EDA for economic development assistance programs to “help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.” As part of the CARES Act, funding was provided to expand Upper Savannah’s RLF capacity.

The total available in the new CARES RLF is $760,000.

Working capital loans of up to $50,000 are available at terms of up to five years at a 1 percent fixed rate. Real estate and equipment loans of up to $100,000 are available at terms of up to 15 years at a 2.5 percent fixed rate.  This is not a forgivable loan.

“We are very fortunate to be able to receive these new CARES Act RLF funds on behalf of our Upper Savannah region,” said Upper Savannah Assistant Director Sam Leaman, who administers the loans.

“These funds will not only help businesses survive the economic fallout from this pandemic but provide economic resiliency going forward,” he said.

Leaman has operated the original RLF since it was created 32 years ago to be an alternative funding source available to start-up and expanding businesses in the Upper Savannah Council of Governments region of Abbeville, Edgefield, Greenwood, Laurens, McCormick and Saluda counties. In 2015, Newberry and Lexington counties were added to the eligible list of counties.

Generally, this program is designed to fill the gap between the financing available from traditional private sector sources (i.e. bank loans and equity) and the total financing need. To be eligible, these projects must result in the creation of permanent jobs and leverage private sector investment. This RLF continues to operate and has funds available but at less attractive terms.

The new CARES RLF is available to businesses partially or completely closed by local or state officials to stop the spread of the coronavirus such as restaurants, certain retail stores, personal services, etc.

Loans are also available to businesses forced to close or curtail operations due to employees testing positive for the coronavirus.

Businesses experiencing loss of revenue due to the general economic downturn or logistical problems are also eligible as well as those negatively impacted by other factors linked to the pandemic.

Businesses whose products or services are in high demand due to the virus will also be targeted for lending. For example, there are businesses in the Upper Savannah Region that manufacture medical supplies, personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, and components for medical equipment.

Borrowers, lenders and others interested in helping small businesses are encouraged to call Leaman at 864-941-8056 for more information.