We are delighted that our request for funds to help small businesses survive the pandemic was approved,” says Carol Meredith, Newport News assistant director of development, in discussing the Peninsula Cares Act Funding (PCAF). “These loans target businesses unable to get bank financing,” she adds.
“PCAF will provide direct loans with flexible rates and terms to corona virus-impacted small, for-profit businesses located in either Newport News or Hampton,” says Priscilla Green, senior project coordinator.
The money is not a grant or forgivable loan. “The business owner is expected to pay it back,” says Meredith. However, the terms are generous. No payments are required during the first year. The interest rates are 0 percent to 2 percent. Loan amounts are $7,500 to $375,000. The term is up to 10 years.
Called a Revolving Loan Fund (RLF), the program is designed so that as loans are repaid, the funds return to the city and can then be re-loaned to other businesses. The current program is based upon a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (a bureau of the U.S. Department of Commerce) to the city.
The application process is simple and can be done online. Applicants can be long-term businesses or startups. “We have a very knowledgeable staff ready to help applicants,” says Meredith.
Eligible uses of funds include acquisition of machinery and equipment, working capital, marketing, facility remediation and more. Funding is expected to result in job creation or job retention. Applicants are requested to supply appropriate support documentation, such as tax returns, financial projections for three years, a business plan, reference letters and other items.
Business owners are encouraged to apply soon. Loans under the PCAF program may be initiated until July 2022, or until the entire $1.5 million has been deployed.
“My background in commercial banking has been very helpful as we get this program underway,” says Meredith. She grew up on a farm in the former Nansemond County (now Suffolk). She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Randolph Macon College. “I have taught government, history, marketing and economics in several places. I have found I can use all of my variety of experience in this job,” Meredith says.
Meredith loves to read, especially best-sellers. On her “bucket list” is the Pacific Northwest. “I hope to start traveling again soon,” she says. She is married with three grown children.
“I have been with the City of Newport News for 14 years — most of my professional career,” says Green. “I have been with the Department of Development for three years. Previously I was in the Newport News tax assessment office.”
Green grew up in Newport News and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in accounting from Old Dominion University. She has been married 17 years and has an eight-year-old son. “Keeping up with my son’s activities keeps me pretty busy,” she says. “I do love to travel. I hope a Caribbean cruise and a trip to Disney World are in my future.”
The Peninsula Cares Act Funding program began in March and 10 loans have been approved. “It is very gratifying to help small businesses who had to close and/or are struggling,” says Meredith.
Newport News Department of Development
TO THE POINT:
Address: 2400 Washington Ave., 3rd floor, Newport News VA 23607
Contact: Carol Meredith, assistant director
Office: 757-597-2840 x404
Contact: Priscilla Green, senior project coordinator