Podcast: Utah Leads Together Small Business Bridge Loan

Pete CodellaBusiness Elevated Podcast, COVID-19


Business Elevated Podcast (Episode 28)

This podcast series features business and government leaders discussing what it’s like to live and work in the great state of Utah. This episode includes a conversation between Val Hale, executive director of the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), and Kori Ann Edwards, managing director of operations at GOED.

The Business Elevated podcast is also available on Apple PodcastsSpotify and Stitcher.



Welcome to the Business Elevated podcast, where we discuss what it’s like to live and work in the great state of Utah. Did you know Utah is frequently ranked the best state for business by Forbes? This podcast is a production of the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development. Thanks for joining the conversation.

Val Hale
Kori Ann Edwards


Kori Ann Edwards: (00:20) Welcome to the Business Elevated podcast. Today we’ll be talking about the Utah Leads Together Small Business Bridge Loan program that was just announced. I’m Kori Ann Edwards, the managing director of operations here at GOED. Joining me to talk about the loan program is GOED executive director, Val Hale.

Val, how are you?

Val Hale: (00:40) Well, I’m doing about as good as could be expected right now in these crazy times, but thank you. We’re doing okay.

Kori Ann Edwards: (00:46) Fantastic. I was just up at the Capitol where you announced the Utah Leads Together Small Business Bridge Loan program. Would you mind talking a little bit about what that’s all about? Who does the program help? What are the qualifications?

Val Hale: (01:02) Yeah. Happy to do that. The program is designed to help businesses with fewer than 50 employees. Small businesses, they’ve been particularly impacted by the COVID-19 virus. This program can help them bridge to additional funding that may be coming from the SBA or other opportunities that are out there, and this will not be exclusive of those. Businesses can apply for this program. In addition to those others, just some basics of the program. The loans that are available will be from $5,000 to $20,000 as funds are available or up to three months operating expenses for a business.

The businesses have to be headquartered in Utah. GOED will review and approve the criteria against the applicants. It’s going to be a really good program. It’s going to impact both urban and rural businesses, about 25% of the funding we’ll be going to rural businesses. We want to help those outside the Wasatch Front as well as those along the Wasatch Front. A rural business means that those who are living in a third, fourth, fifth or sixth class county. Anywhere off the Wasatch Front, I might mention that the interest rate for these loans, 0%, it’s a 60 month term and the first payment won’t be due for about a year from now.. 

A good, good opportunity for businesses to get some money that will hopefully help get them back on their feet and help them survive this crisis that hit us so suddenly. You know, this is similar to other programs that may be out there. I know that Salt Lake City has had a similar program. St George has a program andOgden. This will be a little bit different than the federal program, but as I said, they’re not mutually exclusive. Businesses can apply for all of these loans and it won’t impact this particular one.

I mentioned that GOED will manage the loans. We’ll be reviewing the applications, measuring them against the criteria listed on the website. If you’re interested in getting one of these loans, tomorrow morning, so that’s a Tuesday morning at 8:00 a.m. you can go to coronavirus.utah.gov. There is an application on that site along with the instructions on how to apply for this. Businesses fill out that application and send it in. Applications for this first traunch will close at the end of this week, Friday at noon. There will be more than one particular truanch.

We’ll probably have another one that will open up next week. If you apply for this first one and you don’t get the loan, you will automatically be considered the next week. Just because you didn’t get it the first time doesn’t mean you won’t be reconsidered again. You do not have to reapply.

I mentioned that there’s a deferral for the first 12 months of the payment. Some other details. Businesses must be established in license prior to January 1st of this year, and they need to be in good financial standing. We’re not really looking to finance businesses that are going out of business.  We are looking to help viable businesses that we’re moving along just fine and then the Coronavirus hit and wreaked havoc on them. Another thing is that applicants must have employees on their payroll that they’ve paid payroll taxes. Applicants have to provide six months of pro forma of estimated lost revenue or other documented loss evidence.

The good news is there’s no collateral requirements. Eligibility uses include working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses and other similar expenses that occur in the ordinary course of doing business. As I mentioned, receiving other forms of emergency funding is not going to disqualify you. However, we’re going to ask you to disclose if you have applied for other funding.

So Kori Ann why don’t you chip in and add some other things about this program? You’ve had a real impact in getting this put together and ready to go.

Kori Ann Edwards: (05:46) Thank you, Val. We’re super excited about being able to provide this loan to our small businesses in Utah. Again, it’s for those that have experienced severe economic impact due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some things the team is looking for are businesses that can demonstrate a multiplier impact to other industries and that have a key role with a strategic state supply chain.

As Val mentioned, businesses need to have some full time workers on your payroll that you’re paying payroll taxes for. It’s just really information that’s showing how you have been impacted by the pandemic and what your plans are to use this money. Uses for this money can include helping keep your employees employed, helping pay your operating expense fences and really show that this money is going to be used to help keep employees working and your business going.

Those are probably the most important things in filling out the loan. It’s going to be an online application. You’ll just go in and fill out the application. It will guide you through all the questions that you need to ask and answer and all the documents that you need to upload. Hopefully, that’ll be pretty slick. As Val said, the portal will open up tomorrow morning, 8:00 a.m. and will close Friday,  April 3rd at noon MST.

We anticipate making the award decisions early the next week. The week of April 6th. We’ll start a quick contract process with the applicants. Once that’s done, we’ll release a check to be sent to your business. Our hope is that checks will be mailed out starting Friday, April 10th.

The sooner you get the contract submitted, the faster that check can be released and sent to you in the mail. The best place to find that application is in two places. You can go to GOED’s website at business.utah.gov and across the top of the website is a link to that small business application loan.

You can go and get it right through there. Or you can also go to the coronavirus.utah.gov website under the business tab. We’ll also have the link to get you there. We anticipate to open Tuesday, March 31st at 8:00 a.m. Val, did we miss anything?

Val Hale: (08:22) I think you’ve covered it. There’s a lot to cover in a short amount of time, but if people have questions, Kori Ann, what should they do.

Kori Ann Edwards: (08:31) The best place right now is to call our main office number at GOED. They can guide you through that. The number one place to find all the answers that you need is really on our website. The application will give you all the instructions and information that you need. If you find yourself needing some additional information and needing to call, please call our GOED office at (801) 538-8680 .

Val Hale: (09:01) This is an exciting opportunity. As we mentioned, there’s about a little over $8 million available. We appreciate some money that the Division of Workforce Services helped provide for this about a half a million dollars. The rest of it was repurposed economic development funding.

We’re keeping our fingers crossed that there will be additional money available as well. We have to wait and have the legislature access that if there is to be some in a special session and we think that may happen soon. It’s something that we hope will help a lot of our small businesses here in the state

So thanks so much to Kori Ann and your team for getting us ready. We appreciate everyone for the patience as we get this program off the ground. I think it’s going to go smoothly. I am really optimistic that we’ll be able to provide some needed assistance. So anything else you’d like to say Kori Ann.

Kori Ann Edwards: (10:05) No, Val. We’re excited about this. Thanks for your leadership and we welcome the opportunity to help our small businesses. We appreciate them so much. We need them in our economy. Hopefully this will help them through these struggling times.

Val Hale: (10:19) I agree. Good luck everybody. Let’s hope that this can help and get us over the hump. Thank you so much.

Kori Ann Edwards: (10:27) Thank you.


Thanks for listening to the Business Elevated podcast, a production of the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development. Listen to other episodes where you get your podcasts or at business.utah.gov.