The Boone County Economic Development Corp. recently approved the first loan recipients of the Boone County Small Business Economic Relief Fund.
Zionsville-based No Label Studio, a hair salon that develops and sells its own proprietary products, and Eagle Insulation & Construction, which installs commercial and industrial mechanical insulation and provides exterior restoration caused by storm damage, were two of the first businesses awarded funds.
“We are offering to sell product and even color delivered to your home with instructions and all the tools you need,” No Label Studio owner Rio White stated. “The money we make from that was not enough to cover our bills, but this loan is allowing us to continue to serve the community.”
Boone County Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Molly Whitehead said the corporation hopes the fund can “serve as a bridge or a supplement to additional funding small businesses might need” during the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses of all sizes have been gutted by the combined blows from the new coronavirus and stay-at-home orders, resulting in 26.5 new initial U.S. unemployment claims filed in five weeks, according to data released by the Dept. of Labor April 23. Countless business have closed nationwide.
“We recognize this is an extraordinarily unusual time that I don’t think anybody really projected what was going to happen,” Whitehead said. “We hope that it is beneficial to companies in the area to just help them get through this difficult time and help them until we return to whatever the world looks like here, hopefully sooner rather than later.”
The corporation also announced that the Lebanon City Council contributed $50,000 to the loan fund to be designated for Lebanon small businesses, and the corporation is in contact with other municipalities and entities in the county in an attempt to reach a similar agreement. Whitehead did not specify the municipalities or entities the organization it is in contact with.
The additional funding has allowed the corporation to increase loan amounts up to $10,000. The loans will have terms between 24 and 60 months and will have an interest rate between 0 and 2.75 percent.
County municipalities already pay the corporation for its economic development services and workforce development initiatives in the form of a contract. The money provided by the Lebanon City Council is separate from money allotted for the corporation’s services.
In April, the corporation created the Boone County Small Business Economic Relief Fund to offer county businesses financial support in the form of $5,000 loans funded by the combined efforts of the Boone EDC, MonoSol and Allman Johnson CPAs. The loans are a repackaging of the corporation’s micro-loan program, which has existed for 10 years.
Private Boone County businesses can apply for a loan for any working or non-working capital expenditures. To apply, the business must have operated in the county for at least two years and have fewer than 30 employees. Business owners seeking to apply can do so at betterinboone.org/sberf.
The fund offers tailored small business support and financial relief, Whitehead said, offering 30-minute coaching specific to selected businesses, additional marketing help and business plan guidance. Whitehead said that while funding is important, it is not the only thing that businesses need during this time.
The corporation also has created an online resource for all county business owners. It lists business relief resources available from local, state, and federal sources. To see the full list of resources, visit betterinboone.org/localresources.