The city of Cambridge and the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority will provide $ 3.6 million to help small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the city said on Tuesday.
The Small Business Grant program will provide qualifying businesses up to $ 10,000 to help pay for rent, wages, utilities and the cost of goods. The Cambridge Redevelopment Authority will also provide local businesses with zero-interest loans of up to $ 15,000.
While the initiatives are separate and independently funded, they will share a common application process. Businesses can receive approval for the entire $ 25,000, or three months of business expenses up to that amount.
The city will fund the grants using $ 500,000 from the Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund and $ 1.6 million in federal funds, including the Community Development Block Grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
“Through the Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund, our goal has always been to extend this emergency financial support to as many Cambridge residents as possible,” said Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui and City Manager Louis A. DePasquale in a press release Tuesday. “We always knew that the second phase of fund distribution would include extending this support to small businesses in our city.
The Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, served by the Cambridge Savings Bank, will fund the loan program and provide up to $ 1.5 million in additional relief funds.
Businesses must repay the loan within five years, with zero payments in the first year and semi-annual payments for the next four years.
All small businesses located in Cambridge are eligible for funds, provided they are not locally franchised restaurant chains, do not have unpaid invoices with the City of Cambridge prior to fiscal 2020, and they were not cited for at least two breaches of the health code. over the past two years.
Denise A. Jillson, executive director of the Harvard Square Business Association, said she appreciates the city’s willingness to help small businesses during the pandemic.
“We are thrilled with the $ 3.6 million grant and loan program to support small businesses and enthusiastically encourage our member businesses to apply,” said Jillson. “At this point, every program is important, every dollar helps. “
She added that since the COVID-19 outbreak triggered a statewide stay-at-home notice, Harvard Square has seen a significant increase in business closures. Of the 200 restaurants and retail outlets in the square, fewer than 25 remain in operation, Jillson said.