Partnership With Mission-Driven Community Lenders Will Strengthen Small Businesses and Non-Profits Through Access to Capital and Support Services
Expanded Eligibility Will Allow More Small Businesses to Qualify for Loans
Interested Businesses Can Pre-Apply Here
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the New York Forward Loan Fund 2 program for qualifying small businesses and nonprofits. After expanding criteria for qualifications and with even greater resources allocated for the program, the enhanced fund represents an even bolder commitment to New York State’s small businesses. Qualified recipients with fewer than 100 employees and less than $5 million in gross annual revenue can apply for loans up to $150,000 with affordable, fixed-rate interest rates. Part of New York’s broader State Small Business Credit Initiative efforts led by Empire State Development, the fund will be in place for the next eight years and will focus on helping small businesses and nonprofits, particularly those in low-income and historically underbanked communities and rural areas access flexible working capital to cover a wide range of expenses, from payroll and marketing to facility renovations. Additionally, free support services from experts will work with businesses throughout the life of the loan.
“New York’s small businesses are the lifeblood of our state’s economy and vital to growing and strengthening New York State,” Governor Kathy Hochul said. “With expanded eligibility, this new and improved New York Forward Loan Fund will build on the success that the first fund achieved supporting small businesses during the pandemic and continue to help even more small businesses grow and thrive across the state."
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “The New York Forward Loan Fund 2 was designed to be a stable, flexible resource for New York’s small business community across the state to access capital when they need it. This innovative program will match small businesses to strong, statewide CDFI lenders who can provide individualized service and technical assistance, especially for business owners who have credit needs that are too small for most banks.”
The New York Forward Loan Fund was initially designed to provide hands on support and access to flexible, affordable credit to the smallest businesses across New York who lacked access to affordable credit options in response to COVID-19. New York State needed to create its own program to address inequities in distribution of funds and because smaller loans were not widely available in the market at affordable rates. The original fund processed over 1,700 loans and distributed $97 million in pandemic relief to small businesses and served as a life-line, especially for women and minority-owned companies. More than 50 percent of loan recipients had never applied for a business loan prior to the New York Forward Loan Fund.
Working through Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), New York Forward 2 aims to disburse an initial $150 million with plans to recycle and lend additional funds over the life of the program. CDFIs will assist in accomplishing the program’s broader goal of investing in underfunded businesses, specifically people of color, women, veterans and the LGBTQ+ community.
Businesses interested in seeking a loan can pre-apply at NYLoanFund.com. New York Forward Loan Fund 2’s loan providers include Accion Opportunity Fund, Ascendus, NDC’s Community Impact Loan Fund, Pursuit, and TruFund Financial Services.
Participating businesses and nonprofits can also benefit from free advisory services offered by New York’s Entrepreneurship Assistance Centers (EACs) and Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs). Even if an applicant does not currently qualify for a loan and does not match with a lender, they can work with these advisors to help develop a business plan, become more profitable, and move into a better position for future credit.
The fund is managed by Calvert Impact and administered by the Community Reinvestment Fund in collaboration with private sector institutions like Citi Foundation and Wells Fargo. For more information and to apply, visit NYLoanFund.com.
State Senator Sean M. Ryan said, "For small businesses and nonprofits that often operate on razor-thin margins, unexpected costs can quickly become a serious problem. This expanded program will allow more New York entrepreneurs to take advantage of low-cost loans and other services that have already helped nearly 2,000 small businesses and nonprofits across the state."
Assemblymember Harry B. Bronson said, “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the most important drivers of workforce equity and opportunity. Many times, they are excluded or ineligible from grants and funding resources. As a small business owner myself, I have experienced how this limits expansion and growth. I am excited to partner with Governor Hochul on the New York Forward Loan Fund 2 to provide flexible loans and funding streams that will enable our small businesses to fund critical upgrades, expand their workforces and grow sustainably.”
About State Small Business Credit Initiative
More than $500 million in federal funding has been allocated to support the resurgence of small businesses across New York State through the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), a program through the American Rescue Plan Act. Managed by the U.S. Department of Treasury, SSBCI provides funds to support programs for small businesses, including socially and economically disadvantaged individual (SEDI) owned businesses and very small businesses (VSB), to recover from the economic effects of COVID-19 and allow them opportunity to succeed in the post-pandemic economy. With this funding, Empire State Development (ESD) has developed a suite of capital access and equity programs to help New York State small businesses grow and succeed. Learn about the following SSBCI programs that Empire State Development has established at esd.ny.gov/ssbci.