News Flash

City of Durham News

Posted on: April 19, 2022

Durham Small Business Opportunity Loan Fund Now Providing Low-Interest Loans

low interest loan funding now available to support your small business vision

New Eligible Uses of Funds and Streamlined Application Process to Make It Easier for Small Businesses to Apply and Qualify for Assistance

Durham small businesses in need of financial help as they continue to adapt to the economy’s new normal can now apply for expanded loan funding and technical assistance from the recently updated Durham Small Business Opportunity Loan Fund.

The City of Durham and Durham County established the Durham Small Business Opportunity Loan Fund program to support small businesses located throughout Durham. Held and administered by the Carolina Small Business Development Fund, the updated fund program will provide approximately $1 million in loan funds while also providing technical assistance to businesses receiving those loans to help them thrive in the current economy that continues to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In the summer of 2020, the fund was known as the Small Business Recovery Fund and originated during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Bolstered by contributions from Duke University, the Small Business Recovery Fund distributed just over $800,000 in loans to 38 small business owners in Durham. Now, the updated fund program will expand its reach beyond disaster recovery by offering new eligible uses for the loan funds and making the application process easier in an effort to uplift local businesses as they grow and adapt to a new landscape. 

"In the summer of 2020, the City and County recognized that small businesses within their jurisdictions needed quick and easy access to financial capital and technical assistance,” said President and CEO Kevin Dick of the Carolina Small Business Development Fund. “With the rebranded Durham Small Business Opportunity Loan Fund, our team is pleased to continue partnering with the City and County on administering the program and we look forward to providing more 3% interest, unsecured loans while providing technical assistance to businesses that need it. In doing so, we will help businesses to not just survive, but also to grow and scale."

Eligibility requirements are for any business with 50 or fewer employees, including home-based businesses and food trucks. While no grant funds are offered through this updated fund program, the loans offered are available to businesses with revenues up to $5 million, and are designed to be accessible to entrepreneurs at nearly any stage of business operation. The new streamlined application process requires only basic financial documentation, no collateral, and selection is not credit-score driven.   

“The Durham Small Business Opportunity Loan Fund supports entrepreneurial growth at a fundamental level,” said Durham County Economic Development Officer Andy Miracle. “By establishing banking relationships, building credit, and preparing and maintaining financial documents, our local businesses will be better positioned for long-term growth as a result.” 

Selected applicants may receive loans of $5,000-35,000 with a 3% interest rate and repayment terms up to 10 years. Borrowers will make only interest payments during the first year, and the loans may be used for all business-related expenses including the new option to refinance high-interest debt from predatory loans.

According to Director Andre Pettigrew with the City’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, the new fund program reflects the importance of resilience. “The effects of COVID-19 have been dramatic on many of our local businesses, but they have adapted their business models to be resilient during the pandemic,” said Pettigrew. “Accordingly, we have adapted this fund to provide them with financing to help them continue growing and modifying their businesses.”

For more information, visit the Durham Small Business Opportunity Loan Fund webpage or call (919) 803-1437.