City of Rockford announces program to help small business owners during COVID-19 outbreak

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- The City of Rockford announced at a press conference Wednesday morning a new program that will help small businesses get through the current COVID-19 outbreak.

"They're devastated on the end of the health pandemic that we're all dealing with," says Rockford mayor Tom McNamara. "But they're also devastated because they've poured their entire lives into this small business."

The COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Loan Fund will help small businesses get through a 60-to-90 day window before the record-breaking $2 trillion stimulus package arrives. The fund was established by the Northern Illinois Community Development Corporation and will be managed by the Rockford Local Development Corporation.

"These loans we believe could be a potential lifeline for businesses as they wait fro that longer solution through the SBA," says Jeff Hultman, CEO of the Illinois Bank & Trust. "Many businesses cannot wait 30, 60, 90 days for emergency funding."

Hultman said the City, Winnebago County, Illinois Bank and Trust, Associated Bank, WinTrust, Midwest Community Bank, Blackhawk Bank, Northwest Bank, Stillman BancCorp and Rockford developer Sunil Puri have also participated in the fund, raising a total of $2 million so far.

In order to be eligible, businesses must:

-- Have less than 100 employees

-- Met an average credit score

-- Currently be experiencing interruptions to normal business due to COVID-19

-- Be for-profit entities

-- Must be able to provide a full year prior operations or financial information

"We have to look at the borrowers who we think are best able and quickest to get these SBA loans," says Rockford Local Development Corporation's John Phelps. "Because if we can make them a loan, and they get their SBA loan in 30 days and pay us back, we can lend it to somebody else."

For more information, you can get in touch with John Phelps at John@ridc.us​ or Andrew Jury at Andrew@ridc.us. You can also call (815) 987-8675.