Forgivable loans available to some Vermont businesses still reeling from COVID
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.