Jermaine Freeman on Tuesday outlined for the City Council how the Small Business Assistance funds will be dispersed, and the process behind it.
“When we first did this in April and May, many of our small businesses shut down because of executive orders and were experiencing zero revenue,” Mr. Freeman said. “We are not in that position anymore, although many of our small businesses are struggling.”
That funding has been given to the Southeast Tennessee Development District, and he said they are asking for local area technical assistance providers in helping to coach and assist businesses who apply for the funds.
“We want to actively encourage small business owners to take advantage of federal and state programs that are available,” Mr. Freeman said. “When small businesses come to us and apply for loans, they can say ‘It’s great you’re applying for the city fund, but there’s a real chance the city funds may not meet the entire need.’ ”
He said it is important for small business owners to take advantage of the paycheck protection program and the economic injury disaster loan assistance. He said these programs can provide addition money for small businesses.
“The maximum loan amount is $15,000, and repayment times will vary depending on the business’ situation,” Mr. Freeman said. “This is for businesses directly impacted by our executive orders last year.”
Mr. Freeman said these businesses include restaurants, barbershops, gyms, fitness centers, beauty salons, nail shops, tanning beds, and other similar businesses. He said that phase two is directed as businesses that did not receive assistance during phase one.
“For some of the small businesses that reached out to us for additional loans, we haven’t been able to help them at this time,” Mr. Freeman said.
Mr. Freeman said the following organizations are assisting with this relief: Co.Lab, Launch CHA, Proof Incubator, SCORE, TSBDC, Urban League of Greater Chattanooga. He said these organizations have worked with the city for at least two years.
Loan amounts are up to $15,000 with no interest charged.
“We’re trying to help as many of our small businesses stay in business, and we’re looking for other opportunities to assist,” Councilman Erskine Oglesby said.