City offers loans, EDGE grants for small businesses hit hard by pandemic

By , Daily Memphian Updated: April 14, 2020 11:33 AM CT | Published: April 13, 2020 1:55 PM CT

The city of Memphis is rolling out two micro-loan programs for local businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, including those denied Small Business Administration loans of federal stimulus funding. And the Economic Development Growth Engine – or EDGE – organization is also offering grants to businesses.

Minority business owners adjusting to COVID-19 challenges

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland outlined the efforts Monday, April 13, at the daily COVID-19 task force briefing.

“I think from the get-go we said, ‘What can we do to help small businesses with the limited funds we have?’” Strickland said. “But then I think the criteria was adjusted by the feedback we were getting from so many businesses who can’t get through to the SBA or an SBA lender or that were just outright denied.”

Landlords choose ways to help business tenants during crisis

“We hoping to help small businesses to bridge the gap as we work to get through this,” he said.

The briefing highlights also included confirmation that the old Commercial Appeal building at 495 Union Ave. will serve as the primary field hospital for the pandemic with a retail strip center on Jackson Avenue, the Gateway shopping center, serving as the smaller of the two facilities.

Shelby County Health Department Director Alisa Haushalter also confirmed COVID cases at three local nursing homes or assisted living centers. Those include the previous cases at Carriage Court assisted living center in East Memphis, the Village at Germantown – with seven confirmed cases -- and Parkway H&D with seven confirmed cases.

Haushalter said an additional death from the outbreak of Carriage Court brings the total dead there at three.

Haushalter also said the doubling of confirmed cases in Shelby County has gone from a doubling every eight days to a doubling of every 10 days.

“The importance of that is that we know social distancing is working,” she said.

Here are the two small business loans being offered by the city:

Economic Hardship Emergency Loan Fund:

$2,000 to $5,000 per businesses with interest deferred for six months to businesses located in Memphis that have been open at least three years and which have less than $500,000 in revenue annually.

The loan is to provide emergency working capital for expenses like rent, mortgage payments, vendor payments and payroll as well as insurance and utilities.

All businesses applying must be registered with the city’s Office of Business Diversity & Compliance.

Applications open Tuesday for this loan fund.

Small Business Resiliency Fund:

Up to $35,000 of federal Community Development Block Grant money per business loaned with no payments for three months after the disbursement. The businesses that qualify must be located in Memphis, open for at least three years and have annual revenues of less than $1 million.

This too is essential working capital that could include equipment purchases for public-private projects. These applicants must have specifically been denied funding by the Small Business Administration or an SBA lender to qualify.

These businesses must also be registered with the city’s Office of Business Diversity & Compliance.

Applications open for this fund in early May.

The EDGE Neighborhood Emergency Economic Development funding is a grant program of up to $5,000 to $10,000 for businesses that remain open with a 25% or more drop in revenue with a plan for 90 days of continuous operations.

Businesses closed as a nonessential business with a plan for reopening within 90 days and a plan to stay open at least 90 days could qualify for $5,000 under the terms of the EDGE grant program.

All of the businesses applying for the EDGE grants must be in New Market Tax Credit qualified census tracts.

There are no fees for any of the three programs. Here are more details on the exact terms.

Editor’s Note: The Daily Memphian is making our coronavirus coverage accessible to all readers — no subscription needed. Our journalists continue to work around the clock to provide you with the extensive coverage you need; if you can subscribe, please do


coronavirus small business administration Jim Strickland Alisa Haushalter

Bill Dries on demand

Never miss an article. Sign up to receive Bill Dries' stories as they’re published.

Enter your e-mail address

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Bill Dries

Bill Dries

Bill Dries covers city and county government and politics. He is a native Memphian and has been a reporter for more than 40 years.


Want to comment on our stories or respond to others? Join the conversation by subscribing now. Only paid subscribers can add their thoughts or upvote/downvote comments. Our commenting policy can be viewed here