City Council Approves Low Interest Loan Program for Businesses and Non-Profits
On September 2, 2020, the Norco City Council approved the Small Enterprise Assistance Loan (SEAL) Program, offering no-interest or low-interest loans up to $20,000 to eligible Norco businesses and non-profits. The SEAL Program was endorsed by the Economic Development Advisory Council (EDAC), which has an interest in ensuring the retention of small businesses and creating opportunities for those enterprises to prosper in Norco.
“The SEAL Program is another demonstration that the City of Norco is there for local businesspeople who need additional resources to survive during difficult times and to expand in better times,” reports EDAC Chair Patrick Malone, who notes it is consistent with EDAC’s business retention strategy.
The Norco City Council unanimously approved the SEAL Program, recognizing the value of supporting local businesses, as well as nonprofit organizations that contribute to the vitality of the community. “Small businesses are the backbone of our community and the City of Norco is anxious to provide resources for these hard-working people who have been through so much,” states Mayor Berwin Hanna.
“Small businesses are critical to Norco’s economic development and tax base,” agrees Norco City Manager Andy Okoro, who explains that since the dissolution of redevelopment agencies in California, staff has been exploring ways of encouraging and empowering small businesses by providing financial assistance. “With the current struggles that small businesses are dealing with as the result of the coronavirus pandemic, I appreciate the support of EDAC and the City Council in approving the SEAL Program at this critical time,” says Okoro, who adds, “I am looking forward to a very successful program that can help as many businesses as possible.”
The SEAL Program can address the current challenges facing small business owners, many of which have suffered during the pandemic. However, the SEAL Program is not specifically a COVID-19 response, and is designed to enhance the City’s responsiveness to the business community long after the current crisis has passed. These loans can help businesses survive during recessions, while providing the resources to expand and prosper during better times.
The SEAL Program is available to both for-profit and non-profit enterprises with no more than 25 employees and may be used for working capital or to fund physical improvements, such as new façades or tenant improvements. Loans are available in amounts from $5,000 to $20,000 with terms of up to five years and graduated interest rates. The first 18 months is entirely interest-free, while 2% simple annual interest is charged for months 19 through 36 and 3% for months 37 through 60. Businesses that have participated in other government-sponsored grant or loan programs, such as those funded by the CARES Act, are not precluded from applying for SEAL Program loans.
Applications for the SEAL Program are available below and will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. For more information, contact the City of Norco at (951) 270-5644 or firstname.lastname@example.org.