The City of Tigard and the community lender Craft3 have partnered on a $460,000 loan fund for small businesses impacted by Covid-19, the latest economic relief effort for businesses being pummeled by the pandemic.
Like other relief programs, demand has far exceeded capacity, another sign of the scope of the economic crisis caused by the virus. More than 150 small businesses applied for loans. The city and Craft3 expect to make 14 loans between $10,000 and $50,000 each.
The loans are payable at 5 percent interest over four years. The money can be used for rent, payroll and inventory.
"The (loan) helps a ton," said Bo Kwon, owner of the restaurant Koi Fusion, who received a loan. "It puts us in a position to bring back our employees to work."
The loan fund included $100,000 from the City of Tigard and $360,000 from Craft3, which specializes in small loans to people micro-businesses.
“To survive our ongoing public health crisis, small businesses must have adequate access to capital," said Lloyd Purdy, Tigard's economic development manager, in a news release. "The partnership with Craft3 ... has been critical for business owners who cannot access traditional financing or other business assistance programs."
Other small business relief programs include the federal government's Paycheck Protection Program, which has netted more than $3.8 billion for Oregon companies, but which has been criticized for the way the program was rolled out and who has been able to get funding.
Craft3 CEO Adam Zimmerman said the partnership with Tigard is one he wants to replicate. It relies on Craft3's expertise in small loans and takes some of the credit risk away from cities.
"It was an effort to brand something that we can take from city to city," he said.
Craft3 also does some work with the cities of Portland, Spokane and Walla Walla and Washington and King counties.