Small, local enterprises will get help to recover from the COVID-19 slowdown and expand their businesses under the Fort Myers Community Redevelopment Agency’s (CRA) Microenterprise Emergency Loan Program.
The CRA will offer small businesses forgivable loans to help cover emergency costs created by the economic disruption during the public health crisis. The agency recognizes the unprecedented circumstances caused by the pandemic created the need for temporary help for struggling enterprises that otherwise may not be able to survive.
“We are finding that the micro enterprise program is still needed as many of the businesses within the CRA area did not get assistance through the City’s assistance program. This program will allow us to provide up to eight loans in at least three redevelopment areas,” Executive Director, Fort Myers CRA, Michele Hylton-Terry.
Under the program, owners of businesses are eligible to apply in three redevelopment areas, Downtown, Cleveland Avenue, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. Businesses in those areas are eligible if they have been operating for two years and have a minimum of one other employee in addition to the owner but no more than 10 employees, including the owner.
Owners must be current with local, state, and federal taxes and licenses and must demonstrate that their business has been impacted by the pandemic. They must agree to the option of one-on-one business counseling.
Eligible business can qualify for a loan for up to $10,000 for eligible expenses. Those include paying staff salaries, rent, and utilities; purchasing inventory, supplies, business software, furniture, fixtures, and equipment; making building improvements; and producing marketing materials.
Another eligible expense include, any cost of businesses adding online delivery equipment and service. The loan can be forgiven after 12 months if the business shows it used the funds for approved COVID-related needs.
This Loan Program is being administered by Catalyst Community Capital, Inc. Please contact Leigh Scrabis, the Program Manager, with any questions. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239.209.4283.
View the application here.