In every county in Washington, low and moderate income earners, women, BIPOC, veterans, immigrants, disabled people and members of the LGBTQ+ community make up a large portion of the population, but only a small portion of local entrepreneurs. The Small Business Flex Fund aims to change this, providing better access to capital at low interest rates so small business owners can bounce back from the pandemic, create jobs and build a stronger Washington economy.
“The Small Business Flex Fund helps small business owners transition, connect with resources and find new opportunities for growth,” says Victor Saldanha, Chief Lending Officer of Business Impact NW, one of the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) administering the Washington State Department of Commerce’s Small Business Flex Fund. “Some entrepreneurs have only been able to access predatory loans with interest rates as high as 25 percent. When they get a Small Business Flex Fund loan at 4 percent, the savings really does help! They’re also able to build credit, and in a few years are often able to qualify for a greater variety of loans.”The Small Business Flex Fund isn’t just for underserved populations — all small business owners are welcome to apply by the end of February, 2023!
Low interest, flexible loans:
- Borrow up to $150,000.
- Fixed 3-4 percent interest rates.
- No fees.
- Interest-only payments for the first year (note: this is not a grant; at the 13-month mark borrowers begin making payments towards interest plus principal)
- 60-month loan terms. Unlike the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or other Small Business Administration programs, the Small Business Flex Fund is NOT a forgivable loan.
- The money can be spent flexibly, including on payroll, utilities & rent, supplies, marketing & advertising, building improvements or repairs, and other business expenses.
“Interest rates for the Small Business Flex Fund are historically low compared to any traditional lender, and there are no fees. That helps a lot, especially as businesses transition through the pandemic,” Saldanha says.
The benefits of the Small Business Flex Fund go beyond the numbers. Entrepreneurs also receive support from CDFIs like Business Impact NW to navigate the application process and access business coaching.
“We can assist with the process and connect small business owners with additional resources to remove some of the systemic barriers that prevent them from growing.”
Small Business Flex Fund eligibility criteria:
- Fewer than 50 employees
- Annual revenues of less than $3 million
- Experienced direct economic hardship due to COVID-19
- Apply by the end of February, 2023
- See the full list of criteria at SmallBusinessFlexFund.org
Funds are still available in Kent! Apply now, and be sure to check your email spam folder and answer your phone so you don’t miss out on key information.
Learn more about the program or apply for your loan at SmallBusinessFlexFund.org.