Larimer close to creating $5M business loan fund

Larimer County governments and philanthropic organizations are joining forces to create a $5 million loan fund to benefit businesses impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

SeonAh Kendall, economic health manager for the city of Fort Collins, told participants in the “NoCo Strong for Business” group today that the fund is “very close” to having $5 million committed. The city of Fort Collins, Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce and the Bohemian Foundation will commit $2 million to the fund and other cities and groups  are working to contribute the remaining $3 million.

Details about the program have yet to be released, but Kendall said that the fund, to be administered by the Colorado Enterprise Fund, is specifically designed for small businesses — those with 20 or fewer employees — and loan amounts can be up to $50,000 at a 3.5% interest rate for three to five years.

Ray Caraway, CEO of the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado, was asked last week how a fund could be created to benefit businesses facing crisis as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Caraway cautioned that the need in the region may far exceed the ability to create a large enough grant fund and that a revolving loan fund might be a better approach.

This week, Caraway said the loan program as Kendall described it “sounds like an excellent program” and that the community foundation “will see what it can do to make a contribution to the Larimer County loan fund as just described.”

Loveland councilman John Fogle, co-founder of the NoCo Strong organization, said Loveland “has intentionally held off” creating a fund of its own in anticipation of contributing to the $3 million yet to be raised.

Details about the loan fund will be made available later, Kendall said, perhaps as early as Friday. 

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