ALBANY — A new revolving loan fund will assist Capital Region businesses harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The U.S. Department of Commerce announced the decision Thursday. Its Economic Development Administration will provide $8.7 million for the fund, which will be administered by the Capital Region Chamber.
Chamber President and CEO Mark Eagan said the new loan fund will provide important assistance for businesses affected by the economic fallout of the health crisis, some of whom have been excluded from other assistance programs due to those programs’ requirements.
But the loan fund won’t cease operation when the crisis is over — it will become a permanent piece of the economic development landscape.
“Our region is going to benefit from this fund for generations to come,” Eagan said. “It won’t be COVID-related down the road.”
For-profit businesses in Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Schenectady counties are eligible for two- to ten-year loans of $25,000 to $500,000 at 1.5 percent interest. Details are on the Chamber’s website under “Capital Region Advancement Fund.”
Similar loan funds were announced Thursday by the Department of Commerce for counties to the north (Lake George Regional Planning Board, $3.2 million) and west (Mohawk Valley Economic Development District, $3 million) of the Capital Region.
The money comes from the CARES Act, a coronavirus relief package approved by the Congress and signed into law by President Trump in March.
The Capital Region Advancement Fund has its roots in an older revolving loan fund operated by Albany County and administered by the Chamber — applicants for the new revolving loan funds announced Thursday needed to already operate a fund to qualify to run the new fund.
The older fund is only for Albany County businesses while the new fund covers the six counties.
“The reason we were able to do this is Albany County Executive Dan McCoy supported the idea,” Eagan said. “He believed it should be regional.”
Eight percent of the $8.7 million will go to administration of the loan fund, leaving $8 million for loans.
In another move funded by the CARES Act, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday that the Center for Economic Growth and FuzeHub, both based in Albany, would receive $800,000 and $350,000, respectively for their assistance to small and midsize manufacturers adapting to market changes brought by COVID.
CEG, the New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership center for the Capital Region, will assist companies statewide with rebuilding and strengthening their supply chains.
FuzeHub, the statewide MEP center, will develop and deliver virtual workshops and webinars on subjects ranging from emergency preparedness to recovery efforts.
Two MEP centers located in the Hudson Valley and New York City will receive a combined $1.15 million.