Urban County Council nears second round of small business loans

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Lexington is fast-tracking the next round of small business loans to help small and minority owned businesses still struggling in the pandemic.

The Urban Council approved a second round of $2.5 million in funding Tuesday.

Small- and minority-owned businesses can apply for up to $25,000 in loans possibly starting as early as next week. The second round of follows a first round approved in the spring with applications starting May 18. The program was closed down in mid-June when funds ran out.

When the Urban County Council approved the loans in the spring, they said then they anticipated a second round of money from the city’s budget stabilization fund if the demand existed (Small business loan update June 29, 2021).

Businesses that receive the grants must meet certain standards and don’t have to repay them if they do. If they fall short, they are required to pay a portion of the funds.

The city had a similar program last summer and fall.

In June, the program awarded loans to 155 businesses totaling $2,243,843 — an average of $14,476.41 each. Under the program’s guidelines, at least 50 percent of the money was to go to women and minority-owned businesses The remaining funding went to Commerce Lexington for handling, processing and reviewing the applications.

The city received a total of 293 requests initially totaling $7,137,879 in requests. Of those, 100 were pulled because of a variety of deficiencies. And since the initial application period closed, a number of other businesses have reached out about possible funding.

According to a report provided the Urban Council’s Budget Committee Tuesday, 57 percent did with 44 going to minority-owned businesses and 60 going to women-owned businesses.

Council members say they don’t want to lose the momentum.

“I’m on board that we ought to go on and do it. They’ve got a list going. I want to get the money out there and we should do that now,” said At-Large Council Member Richard Moloney.

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