The Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) today announced the implementation of the Utah Leads Together Small Business Bridge Loan program. The program, available beginning March 31, 2020, at 8 a.m. (MDT), offers a bridge loan to Utah-based small businesses with 50 or fewer employees impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Loan amounts range from $5,000 to $20,000 with 0% interest for up to a 60-month period. Loans are for businesses, not nonprofits, and cannot exceed three months of demonstrated operating expenses. Loan payments are deferred for 12 months.

The bridge loan program uses $11 million in state funds. GOED will use a minimum of 25% of the funds for rural Utah businesses.

“This new program will help many Utah small businesses struggling with impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic and in need of assistance during this emergency in our country and our state,” said Val Hale, GOED’s executive director. “We hope that this loan program will help keep Utah workers employed and businesses open for business, at least in some fashion, as we face today’s difficult challenges and uncertain health and economic conditions.”

Applications will be reviewed weekly by a committee chaired by GOED’s Executive Director, Val Hale, and approved by the GOED Board. Businesses that complete the online application, providing all supporting information and documentation, will be notified of their loan status by email at the beginning of the following week. Applicants will then enter into a contract with GOED to accept their loan.

The Utah Leads Together Small Business Bridge Loan Program is designed to serve Utah’s successful small businesses that are in desperate need of cash assistance at this time. For this week’s applicants, GOED could start mailing checks by April 10, 2020.

The loan program will remain open each week, Monday morning until Friday at noon, until the funds are used, or the program has met immediate needs, with the option to secure additional funding from the Utah Legislature, the federal government, or both.

Bridge Loan Criteria

  • Businesses must be established and licensed before January 1, 2020, and in good standing with the Utah Division of Corporations and Commercial Code (will be verified here).
  • Applicants must have employees on their payroll for whom they have had payroll taxes withheld (i.e., W-2 employees).
  • Applicants must provide six months proforma of estimated lost revenue or other documented loss evidence.
  • No collateral requirements.
  • Eligible loan uses include working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or other similar expenses that occur in the ordinary course of operations.
  • Receiving other forms of emergency funding will not disqualify an applicant from receiving loan funds through this program. Still, companies must disclose if they have applied for emergency funding from other sources.

GOED will determine the eligibility of bridge loan applicants. Applying is not a guarantee of funding. Preference for funding will be given based on specific criteria available online. Learn more about the Utah Leads Together Small Business Bridge Loan program criteria, eligibility, and required information at coronavirus.utah.gov.

Utah small businesses will be able to apply for the Utah Leads Together Small Business Bridge Loan starting March 31, 2020, at 8:00 a.m. (MDT). The first funding tranche ends April 3, 2020, at 12:00 p.m. (MDT).

Val Hale discusses the Utah Leads Together Small Business Bridge Loan.