NASHVILLE, TN.- "We don't want to have a bunch of ghost towns. So, it's incumbent upon all of us to support our small businesses," Kathy Cook, Public Affairs Specialist with the Small Business Association said.

Kathy Cook with the Small Business Administration's Office of Disaster Assistance knows that job growth in America is heavily due to our nation's small businesses and our mom and pop shops.

It's why Cook wants to get the word out about what the Small Business Administration is offering. 

“We’re trying to keep businesses operating, paying their lease payments, paying their payroll. Their quarterly taxes. All the things they would’ve been able to pay for had they not had the downturn or closure because of the coronavirus," Cook said. 

Cook says Tennessee's disaster declaration, which got approved Friday afternoon, offers low-interest loans to small business owners all across Tennessee.

"The interest rate is fixed for the life of the loan. So if you’re a small business. Your small interest rate for the coronavirus is 3.75%. If you’re a non-profit it’s 2.75%, and we can stretch the loan out as far as 30 years to make it affordable," Cook said. 

Cook also says business owners can borrow up to $25,000 without pledging collateral. Cook also says the first payments are being deferred for 11 months. 

"So if you apply for a loan, your first payment is not going to be due for a year from the date that you signed the note," Cook said. 

Robyn Householder, CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Middle Tennessee says if you own a business and don't know where to turn when it comes to dealing with the Coronavirus stress, look to your bank. 

 “Remember that most small businesses have reputations with existing banks. And so the first step would be to go and meet with that bank. All the resources that they need to get through these difficult times," Robyn Householder said. 

Remember the number one thing that will help right is communication 

 "There is no such thing as too much communication at this time. Whether that’s with your customers...with your employees. With your vendors. Stay in contact. Keep people abreast of what your plans are," Householder said. 

The Better Business Bureau added to be mindful of predatory lenders and how to spot them

For more tips from the Better Business Bureau, click here.

Fore more information from the Small Business Administration, click here.

 

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