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ROCKY MOUNT — The Golden LEAF Board of Directors issued a release on May 4 following the allocation of $125 million to the foundation by the N.C. General Assembly in the 2020 COVID-19 Recovery Act, which was signed into law on May 4 by Gov. Roy Cooper.

The 2020 COVID-19 Recovery Act was developed through compromise from the N.C. House of Representatives and state Senate, passing unanimously on Saturday, May 2. The bill appropriated an additional $1.6 billion to programs and industry sectors to provide COVID-19 relief.

According to the release from Golden LEAF, the board modified the terms of the existing N.C. COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program to align with the provisions of the newly ratified bill.

Effective May 4, loans made from the program to small businesses “will include a limit on the number of employees per business, a minimum interest rate for the first six months of the loan term and an increased time for repayment,” the release stated.

The N.C. COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program was launched on March 24 with an initial allocation of $15 million provided by Golden LEAF. With additional funding in place, applications will continue to be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.

“We are honored that Golden LEAF can serve as a trusted conduit for much needed resources to assist small businesses during this crisis,” said Bo Biggs, board chair.

The NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program offers low interest loans of up to $50,000 with no payments for six months to businesses affected by COVID-19. If not repaid in six months, the loan will automatically convert to a term loan.

The Rural Center acts as a program administrator, managing the flow of loan applications to lending partners for underwriting and servicing. Lending partners include Business Expansion Funding Corporation, Carolina Small Business Development Fund, Mountain BizWorks, Natural Capital Investment Fund, Piedmont Business Capital, Sequoyah Fund and Thread Capital.

Small-business owners affected by COVID-19 can learn more about the NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program and apply for a loan at https://ncrapidrecovery.org or call Business Link North Carolina at (1-800) 228-8443 to speak with someone about this program or other resources available to small businesses.

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