SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — This year has been especially difficult for small businesses across California.
Wrestling with changing restrictions, closures, demands and lost dollars, businesses need help.
“Obviously, this has been a tremendous impact on them as they struggle to survive and thrive through COVID,” said Isabel Guzman, director of the Office of the Small Business Advocate.
Guzman said that from data they’ve seen, about a third of small businesses, or half depending on the industry and population, have had to close.
In an effort to keep more from collapsing, the state late last week launched the California Rebuilding Fund. It was recommended by a large economic recovery task force Governor Gavin Newsom assembled early on in the pandemic.
For small businesses that are underbanked, the fund will provide applicants with up to $100,000 in loans using a blend of state and private money.
“When they apply they go through a matching process for eligibility,” said IBank Executive Director Scott Wu. “Once they’re matched, they’re with a community lender and they’ll go through a loan underwriting process. And once approved, they get a loan.”
Fund organizers say in its first day and a half, 1,400 California businesses applied. They processed $75 million in loans, having matched 1,100 businesses.
The state put up $25 million so far for the fund, with the private sector providing an indefinite amount of money.
The application window is open until the end of next year.
“Unlike other programs that have a short window. People have to rush in before funds are exhausted. This program will keep raising capital so long as there continues to be a need,” Wu said.
As Governor Newsom puts together his version of the state budget, he said supporting small businesses is one of his top priorities.