Four hundred and sixty-eight Nashville/Davidson County small businesses will receive awards from the $9 million grant program made available through the American Rescue Plan for small businesses in our area. Located across Nashville and spanning many industries, recipients received an average of $17,500 in federal funds they will not have to pay back. Metro’s designated program administrator, Pathway Lending, closed applications July 31 and fully funded all the awards by August 15 of this year.
“In a world where operating a small business was already difficult, the pandemic pushed many folks to the limit,” said Mayor John Cooper. “I’m proud we’ve been able to design a program that efficiently and effectively gets federal dollars to the small businesses around Nashville that need it. For those business owners and entrepreneurs who still need a little extra help, you can apply right now for a loan with below market-rate interest levels to kickstart your business.”
Program support and grant awards prioritized $2.5 million for North Nashville zip codes (37208, 37218, 37228, 37207, 37209), $3.5 million for distressed areas, and the remaining $3 million Metro wide in accordance with guidance set for the by Metro Council. Awards were first-come-first-served, and grants made following the order of submission time and date stamps on eligible, completed applications.
“My business was very fortunate to receive the Nashville Small Business Recovery Fund Grant,” said Jason Luntz, principal of new media agency Urvoyce. “With these funds, we will be able to purchase some much-needed equipment, hire a part-time employee and focus on marketing to grow our customer base. The application process was very user-friendly and did not take up a huge amount of time, which is very important to small business owners. I am thankful for this grant and truly appreciate Pathway Lending and Metro Nashville for their help and support during these tough financial times.”
Eligible small businesses can still apply for loans at two percent interest from the $9 million loan program that opened for applications alongside the grant program earlier this summer. Unlike the grant program, there is no deadline to apply for the loan program, and applications will remain open while funds are available.
“Interacting with small businesses through outreach events and helping them through the grant application underscored the extent of the need for this type of funding, particularly in overlooked communities,” said Thomas Sheffield, director of the Nashville Opportunity Fund for Pathway Lending. “Small business owners are doing their best to stay afloat. The financial support is greatly needed and has been well received. We’re grateful to Mayor Cooper and Metro Council for their commitment to our small business community and establishing a program that supports small businesses in such a meaningful way.”
To be eligible for the loan program, Nashville and Davidson County small businesses 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 a minimum credit score of 600. Pathway Lending is offering the loans at two percent fixed interest over five years, and applicants can request loans up to 20% of annual revenue with a maximum loan request of $200,000.
To get started with a loan application, interested small businesses can visit the program website. The site includes an overview of the application process and form to sign up for information sessions, or they can view a recorded information session. Applicants will also find key information about the business and personal tax and financial documents they must provide as part of a complete loan application and a toolkit with guides and templates for preparing the required documents.
Through the program website, interested small businesses can also access contact information for community resource partners that are providing outreach and technical assistance for the fund, including 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.
As fund administrator, Pathway Lending will underwrite loan applications and distribute loans to eligible small businesses with approved applications. Metro Teachers Credit Union will also package applications for the loan program beginning September 1. In keeping with Metro Council guidance, Pathway Lending will direct $2.5 million from the loan program to North Nashville zip codes (37208, 37218, 37228, 37207, 37209).
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.
For more information or to apply, click HERE.