Recognizing the significant impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the local small business community, the Lancaster City Council has directed the issuance of up to $2,000,000 in loan funds to aid small businesses in Lancaster through the Stand Strong Business Recovery Loan Program.
What is it?
Stand Strong offers low and no-interest loans of $5,000 to $20,000 to small businesses in Lancaster affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds are intended to 1) aid businesses adversely impacted by COVID-19 in maintaining viability during and beyond the outbreak, and 2) aid those undergoing mandatory closures in recommencing operations following the outbreak’s conclusion.
Who is eligible?
In order to qualify for the program, businesses must:
- Be independent, locally-owned small businesses whose primary business operation is located within the Lancaster City limits
- Have been in operation in Lancaster for at least 12 months as of March 17, 2020 (the date the Lancaster City Council ratified the declaration of a State of Emergency)
- Have annual gross revenue of $3.5 million or less
- The following businesses are not eligible to participate in the program: smoke shops/cigarette stores, hookah lounges, pawn shops, payday lenders, liquor stores, adult entertainment enterprises, massage establishments, gambling establishments, and home-based businesses.
What can the money be used for?
Loan funds must be utilized for working capital expenses such as rent, payroll, utilities, essential services, and necessary supplies to assist with business continuity and recovery.
What are the loan terms?
Businesses may select one of two loan options:
- Option 1: 0% interest for a term of 6 months to 1 year
- Option 2: variable interest rate equal to the City of Lancaster Portfolio Yield for up to 5 years; in no event will the rate exceed 3%
Loan payments are due quarterly, with no prepayment penalty.
How will funds be awarded?
Loan amounts will be determined based on need expressed through the Statement of Expected Fund Use and Recovery Plan submitted with the application.
As funds are limited, loans will be awarded on a competitive basis, with prioritization based on the following criteria:
- Impact of Mandatory Closures - The business is directly affected by the closures and/or restrictions mandated by Los Angeles County.
- Need - The business demonstrates a need for the loan, and has actively taken other steps to ensure business continuity and/or recovery.
- Community - The business is a small, locally-owned, entrepreneurial business, which provides a unique experience or service to citizens.
- Viability - The business’s financial statements reflect a stable business that, but for the impact of COVID-19, would be able to continue operating.
- Contribution - The business positively contributes to the synergy of the commercial area in which it is located.
- Ownership - Independent, non-chain, non-franchised businesses will be given first priority.
How do I apply?
In order to qualify, businesses must:
- Show that historical profits were sufficient to service the requested debt and have been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Principal business owner(s) must have reasonable and responsible personal credit history and an acceptable explanation for any derogatory marks. Bankruptcies and debt write-offs must be at least 12 months old.
- All business owners who hold 20% or more ownership must guarantee the loan.
- Submit the following documents via our secure online portal:
- Complete loan application
- Business tax returns (1 year)
- Profit and loss statement showing monthly operating expenses and revenues (6 months)
- Personal tax returns (1 year)
- Bank statements (3 months)
- Statement of Expected Fund Use (maximum 1 page)
- Recovery Plan (maximum 1 page)
Program Policies & Procedures
Click here to view the complete program policies and procedures.
How long will the program last?
The program will remain in effect until December 31, 2020 or until funds are exhausted, whichever occurs first. Businesses are encouraged to apply early to increase the likelihood that funds will be available upon application.