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Forgivable loans available to some Vermont businesses still reeling from COVID

a photo showing a blue sign reading local businesses open along a wet roadway with a car on it
Nina Keck
Vermont Public File
During the pandemic, many of Vermont's businesses took a big hit.

A short-term forgivable loan programis taking applications to help struggling businesses get back on their feet.

The program, which was created during the 2022 legislative session and is being run by the Vermont Economic Development Authority, or VEDA, is initially limited to priority sectors including travel and tourism, the restaurant industry, child care, agriculture and all BIPOC-owned businesses.

Cassie Polhemus, the CEO of VEDA, said the organization worked with the Vermont Professionals of Color Network and the Center for Women And Enterprise to help get the word out about the program.

"So, it's businesses that are still struggling," she said. "They're still in business, so that is great, but they're still struggling."

To be eligible, businesses must be located in Vermont and have fewer than 500 employees. They should also be able to show that pandemic negatively affected them.

The forgivable loans, which can be up to $350,000, can be used to pay for things like payroll, rent, utilities and mortgages.

VEDA said it has $1.3 million and has received more than 75 applications so far.

Applications will open to all impacted businesses on Nov. 1.

This story is a collaboration between Vermont Public and the Community News Service. The Community News Service is a student-powered partnership between the University of Vermont’s Reporting & Documentary Storytelling program and community newspapers across Vermont.

Emily is a sophomore at the University of Vermont pursuing a major in English and a minor in film and/or sociology. She has always had a passion for reading, writing, and storytelling, and hopes that she will be able to translate that into broadcasting here at CNS. Originally from a small town in Connecticut, in her free time Emily enjoys hiking, reading, skiing, and of course hanging out with her adorable puppy who’s back at home.
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