Nearly 1,150 Utah small businesses and nonprofits received loans in a state program designed to aid those hurt by the impacts of COVID-19.

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) recently announced that 1,149 companies and organizations were awarded loans totaling $12 million in the Utah Leads Together Small Business Bridge Loan program created by GOED in March.

The loan program affected roughly 15,000 jobs within those businesses and nonprofits, GOED said.

“We have been amazed at the applications received for both rounds of the Utah Leads Together Small Business Bridge Loan program,” said Val Hale, GOED executive director. “Though we were not able to award all of the applicants, we hope that the loans awarded will help these small businesses and nonprofits succeed.”

When GOED originally envisioned the program, it was to use about $8 million, or about $4 million in two phases, using money from the state Industrial Assistance Fund. Instead, the program used about $11 million from federal sources and $1 million from the WCF Insurance Foundation — $6.1 million in the first round and $5.9 million in the second round.

More than 5,000 businesses and nonprofits applied for loans. Five hundred and one received loans in the first round and 648 received in them in the second round.

The loan program was designed for businesses and nonprofits entities with 50 or fewer employees to serve as a bridge as companies apply and await receipt of loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration or other loan programs. Loans ranged from $5,000 to $25,000 and could not exceed three months of a company’s demonstrated operating expenses.

GOED parameters for the program called for at least 25 percent of the loans to go to rural Utah small businesses and nonprofits. Twenty-seven percent of first-round funds went to rural businesses and about 34 percent of second-round funds went to rural businesses and nonprofits, for an overall amount of 30.5 percent. Over 5 percent, which represents more than half of eligible applications, went to nonprofit organizations.

GOED is also working with the Sorenson Impact Center at the University of Utah to provide, in a few weeks, a comprehensive third-party review of both rounds of the bridge loan program.

“This has been a very successful effort,” Kelvyn Cullimore, president and CEO of BioUtah, said in BioUtah’s email newsletter. “The program aimed squarely at helping our small-business owners retain employees and remain viable. Hats off to the GOED team for their prompt actions.”

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