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Applications open for $18M in federal assistance to refuel small businesses

by PRIDE Newsdesk

Applications for $18 million in grant and loan funds made available through the American Rescue Plan for small businesses in Nashville and Davidson County are now open to applicants. Metro Nashville is partnering with Pathway Lending to administer the funds. Eligible small businesses can apply for a grant or start a loan application. Applicants can also sign up for information sessions to preview the application requirements and processes, along with guidance to help businesses deciding between applying for a grant or applying for a low-interest loan.

“Nashville’s economic recovery overall has been nothing short of remarkable, but it’s essential that our small business community gets the help they need to get back on their feet and thrive,” said Mayor John Cooper. “These grants and loans created from the Biden Administration’s American Rescue Plan will help the engine of our great city, small businesses, continue to generate jobs and drive an economy that works for every neighborhood forward.”

Eligible small business applicants must have a Davidson County postal address and physical location, 2021 annual revenue between $10,000 and $1,000,000, no more than 50 full-time employees, and must meet additional criteria.

The Pathway Lending program website details full eligibility criteria as well as frequently asked questions, grant and loan application guides and lists nonprofit program partners providing technical assistance to help small businesses prepare applications. To date, those nonprofits include Conexión Américas, Corner to Corner, The Equity Alliance, Jefferson St. United Merchants Partnership (JUMP), Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Nashville Business Incubation Center, and Tennessee Latin American Chamber of Commerce.

The info sessions, hosted in both English and Spanish, will continue throughout the application period.

Small businesses will soon also be able to access online recorded information sessions.

As fund administrator, Pathway Lending will process grant and loan applications and distribute grant awards and loans to eligible small businesses with approved applications. The Mayor’s Office of Economic Development will oversee the program and make final determinations on fund disbursement. In keeping with guidance in the Metro Council Resolution, Pathway Lending will allocate the $18 million as follows:

$9 million grant program

 •   $2.5 million for North Nashville (37208, 37218, 37228, 37207, 37209)

 •   $3 million for distressed areas of Metro Nashville

 •   $3.5 million Metro Nashville wide

 •   $9 million loan program

 •   $2.5 million for North Nashville (37208, 37218, 37228, 37207, 37209)

“These funds will have a significant impact where our community needs it the most, revitalizing businesses in a sustainable and positive way,” said Thomas Sheffield, director of Pathway Lending’s Nashville Opportunity Fund. “This will allow us to exponentially increase the support available to small businesses in Nashville. We are grateful to the Metro Council and Mayor Cooper for entrusting this critically important work to our organization and the other non-profit community partners involved in this groundbreaking initiative.”

Established by the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Community Development, the Nashville Small Business Recovery Fund was established by Metro Council when it approved $20 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds from the federal government for this purpose. Metro Council committed $18 million for Davidson County small businesses, with $9 million going to grants and the other half going to low-interest rate loans, and the remaining $2 million for technical assistance and outreach support by area nonprofits.

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