Golden LEAF launches $15 million NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Program

Golden LEAF launches $15 million NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Program

On March 24, 2020, Golden LEAF announced $15 million in funding to launch a rapid recovery loan program for small businesses in response to economic losses related to Coronavirus (COVID-19). Golden LEAF funding is supporting the NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program by enabling loans to be made to eligible small businesses for up to $50,000 with zero interest and no payments for six months. If not repaid in six months, the loan automatically converts to a term loan with interest.

Although submitted applications currently exceed available funding, the Rural Center and Golden LEAF are pursuing additional funding to meet demand. Applications will continue to be processed in the order they are received and will be reviewed as additional funding becomes available.

“This program is designed to assist businesses working to apply for a Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Loan or other commercial loan but that have more immediate needs for capital,” said Bo Biggs, Golden LEAF Board Chairman.

The federal government has made Economic Injury and other loan programs available through the SBA in all 100 North Carolina counties. The NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program will complement the SBA by providing a bridge until businesses can access funding from the SBA.

The NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program supports the immediate needs of businesses by building upon a model used following Hurricanes Matthew, Florence, and Dorian and in continued partnership with the NC Rural Center.

The NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program ( is managed by the NC Rural Center. The NC Rural Center is working with well-established North Carolina nonprofit lenders to implement the NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Program including Business Expansion Funding Corporation (BEFCOR), Carolina Small Business Development Fund, Mountain BizWorks, Natural Capital Investment Fund, and Thread Capital.

“The Golden LEAF Foundation recognizes the critical role small-business owners play in our state’s economy,” said Scott T. Hamilton, President, Chief Executive Officer of the Golden LEAF Foundation. “The ‘LEAF’ in Golden LEAF stands for Long-term Economic Advancement Foundation. Golden LEAF cannot let this pandemic cause irreparable economic damage to our state’s small businesses.”

Eligible small businesses include the following:

  • Applicants must be a North Carolina small business affected by COVID-19 (all 100 NC counties are eligible).
  • Applicants must have at least one (1) employee, who could be the self-employed owner.
  • Start-up businesses that began operations before March 23, 2020 are eligible.

Small-business owners affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19) can learn more about the NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program and apply for a loan at or to speak with someone about this program or other resources available to small businesses contact BLNC at 800.228.8443.

See what the State’s leadership had to say about the program:

“Small businesses are more than just job providers, they are pillars of our communities. They need our support now more than ever, and this program can help people across the state as we weather the effects of this pandemic.” — Governor Roy Cooper

“This rapid response by the Golden LEAF Foundation to support North Carolinians through the COVID-19 crisis will provide immediate financial benefit for folks who are hurting during an uncertain economic upheaval, serving as a strong example of our state activating every asset available to help families and businesses in all 100 counties through this difficult time.” — Speaker of the House Tim Moore

“This action by Golden LEAF is welcome news and much needed. Everybody — the private sector and local, state, and federal governments — will need to work toward the common goal of restarting the economic engine once this crisis passes.” — Senate Leader Phil Berger

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