Flood-impacted small businesses eligible for interest-free loan
DENHAM SPRINGS - Hundreds of businesses impacted by the 2016 floods have taken advantage of the Restore Louisiana Small Business Program. The Office of Community Development has announced an application deadline of Feb. 28, 2018.
Tthe $43 million program offers interest-free, partially forgivable loans to eligible businesses and to date has funded about $11 million in loans.
Mike O'Neal, owner of Big Mike's Sports Bar and Grill in Denham Springs says he applied for a loan after learning a friend did the same thing.
"I think it's a break and a blessing that a lot of people deserve," said O'Neal.
He was awarded $150,000 through the program to put toward working capital, including rent, mortgage, wages, utilities, and inventory. Construction-related expenses are not eligible.
It allowed O'Neal to pay off some rent, order new booths, and machines for his bar.
"These loans do not come along," said O'Neal. "An interest-free loan of that amount does not come along."
The interest-free loans range from $10,000 to $150,000. If qualified, borrowers comply with all program requirements, 40 percent of the loan will be forgiven when 60 percent of the principal is repaid.
O'Neal said he had to spend that money in six months and turn in all his receipts.
"There's a lot of businesses that did not reopen, family-run and corporate, but I think this will give the family-run guy a chance maybe to get back on his feet," said O'Neal.
Representatives from the Restore Louisiana Small Business Program will be available to answer questions at upcoming outreach events.
Feb. 5 - East Baton Rouge Parish Library/Greenwell Springs Road Regional Branch from 2-6 p.m.
Feb 6 - Livingston Parish Library/Denham Springs-Walker Branch from 2-6 p.m.
Feb 7 - East Baton Rouge Library/Baker Branch from 2-6 p.m.
Business owners who have already completed their construction can also be eligible for reimbursement and are encouraged to learn more here.