Kzoo city proposes millions in loans to pandemic-hit businesses

New city loan fund billed as stop-gap until state and federal money sent for small businesses.

Kalamazoo will consider offering at least $2 million in low-interest loans to some city businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

City commissioners will meet Tuesday, March 31 for a 6pm virtual meeting, which is open to the public, to consider offering $5,000 to $50,000 loans as part of a new Kalamazoo Small Business Loan Fund. A vote could take place at the meeting.

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The details and special meeting were announced in a statement by the city of Kalamazoo on behalf of itself and the United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region, which will administer the fund.

The statement said at least part of the fund will be seeded by $2 million from the Foundation for Excellence, a privately-funded entity of the city established to offset lowered property taxes, plug gaps in the annual budget, and fund aspirational projects.

The statement referred to the loan fund as a temporary bridge to keep companies solvent until state and federal assistance is available.  

Key loan terms, per the statement:

  • 1% interest rate
  • 36 total months
  • no payment for 6 months

Eligible businesses must meet this criteria, the statement said:

  • Provide support to impacted employees
  • Are located within the City of Kalamazoo
  • Have 50 employees or fewer
  • Need working capital for payroll or operational expenses
  • Can demonstrate an income loss related to COVID-19

Here is the notice of the meeting and details for viewing and participating:

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