NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Hundreds of Nashville small businesses received grants from a $9 million grant program through the American Rescue Plan Act, Mayor John Cooper’s office announced.
Located across Nashville and Davidson County and spanning many industries, the 468 recipients received an average of $17,500 in federal funds they will not have to pay back, the mayor’s office said. Metro’s designated program administrator Pathway Lending closed the applications July 31 and fully funded all the awards on or before Aug. 15, per the office.
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“In a world where operating a small business was already difficult, the pandemic pushed many folks to the limit,” Cooper said. “I’m proud we’ve been able to design a program that efficiently and effectively gets federal dollars to the small businesses around Nashville that need it.”
Program support and grant awards prioritized $2.5 million for North Nashville ZIP codes (37208, 37218, 37228, 37207 and 37209), $3.5 million for distressed areas and the remaining $3 million Metro wide in accordance with guidance set by the Metro Council. Awards were first-come first-served, and grants made following the order of submission time and date stamps on eligible, completed applications.
“My business was very fortunate to receive the Nashville Small Business Recovery Fund Grant,” said Jason Luntz, principal of new media agency Urvoyce. “With these funds, we will be able to purchase some much-needed equipment, hire a part-time employee and focus on marketing to grow our customer base. The application process was very user-friendly and did not take up a huge amount of time, which is very important to small business owners. I am thankful for this grant and truly appreciate Pathway Lending and Metro Nashville for their help and support during these tough financial times.”
The mayor also announced millions of dollars in funding was also available from the 2%-interest loan program.
“For those business owners and entrepreneurs who still need a little extra help, you can apply right now for a loan with below market-rate interest levels to kickstart your business,” he said.
Eligible small businesses can still apply for loans at 2% interest from the $9 million loan program that opened for applications alongside the grant program earlier this summer. Unlike the grant program, there is no deadline to apply for the loan program, and applications will remain open while funds are available.
“Interacting with small businesses through outreach events and helping them through the grant application underscored the extent of need for this type of funding, particularly in overlooked communities,” said Thomas Sheffield, director of the Nashville Opportunity Fund for Pathway Lending. “Small business owners are doing their best to stay afloat. The financial support is greatly needed and has been well received. We’re grateful to Mayor Cooper and Metro Council for their commitment to put small business community and establishing a program that supports small businesses in such a meaningful way.”
To be eligible for the loan program, Nashville and Davidson County small businesses must have a Davidson County postal address and physical location, 2021 annual revenue between $10,000 and $1,000,000, no more than 50 full-time employees and a minimum credit score of 600. Pathway Lending is offering the loans at 2% fixed interest over five years, and applicants can request loans up to 20% of annual revenue with a maximum loan request of $200,000.
According to Sheffield, a little over $1 million of the loan funds have been awarded so far. His goal is to have the remaining $8 million awarded before the end of 2023.
To get started with a loan application, interested small businesses can visit the program website HERE.