NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Governor Bill Lee announced Wednesday that he requested funds for loans from the federal government to help small businesses in Tennessee. By Friday, the request was approved and loans were available.
The funds for the loans came from the U.S. Small Business Administration and to help cover costs small businesses may face due to the spread of COVID-19. Applicants can apply for up to $2 million.
The loans can be used to pay fixed debts, pay employees and any other expense that the company may face due to coronavirus. Interest rates are 3.75 percent for small businesses and 2.75 percent for nonprofit organizations.
The loans will be long-term to keep repayments more affordable, according to a press release from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. They can have repayment schedules for as long as 30 years.
“Small business is the backbone of Tennessee’s economy, and right now they have been faced with unprecedented challenges,” TNECD Commissioner Bob Rolfe said in a press release. “We will continue to provide the necessary resources, information and support to help our small businesses overcome these obstacles as quickly as possible.”
More than 94 percent of Tennessee businesses have fewer than 50 employees and are considered small businesses. At the same time, employment at these businesses rose over the last five years, placing Tennessee in the top ten states for small business growth.
“I applaud the efforts of the SBA in swiftly processing and approving Tennessee’s request for economic injury disaster loan assistance,” Lee said.