Gov. Jared Polis yesterday signed two bills to send much-needed relief to small businesses across Colorado.
Representatives Lisa Cutter and Shannon Bird sponsored HB20-1413, which establishes a loan program for small businesses. Representative Mary Young sponsored SB20-222, which enacts a small business grant program.
“Our business people in Colorado are so grateful for the Paycheck Protection Program … But we also know that the Paycheck Protection Program wasn’t able to fill all the holes,” Polis said at the signing. “Some businesses and particularly many minority owned businesses and other small businesses that didn’t have banking relationships weren’t able to participate … .
“Both the grant bill for small business and the loan fund for small- and medium-sized businesses, this will help Colorado be on the forefront of the private sector recovery from the economic fallout from COVID-19,” he added.
HB20-1413 establishes a small business loan program for which $250 million in private and public funding is allocated to Colorado’s small businesses over the next two years. Loans of between $30,000 to $500,000 with a maturation of up to five years will be awarded to small businesses with between five to 100 employees.
The loans must carry a lower interest rate than what would normally be available on the commercial market. To ensure as much fiscal equity as possible, counties across Colorado will be allocated loans that are proportionate to the number of small businesses in the county.
“This session, Democrats worked to get Colorado back on its feet and on the way to economic recovery,” Cutter (D-Jefferson County) said in a news release from Colorado House Democrats. “The loan program signed into law today will give Colorado’s small businesses a leg up by providing a responsible and effective way to keep their doors open while our state recovers.”
“Colorado’s small businesses need all the help they can get,” Bird (D-Westminster). “This new law will put yet another tool in the toolbelt of businesses struggling to stay afloat during these unpredictable times. Small businesses employ 40 percent of our state’s workforce, and it is critical to keep small businesses open and people employed. By investing in our small businesses, we’re taking important steps toward recovering Colorado’s strong and bustling economy.”
SB20-222 creates a grant program funded by $20 million of the CARES Act for small businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
Five million dollars will be set aside for the recovery of the tourism sector. To qualify for the grant program, businesses must have less than 25 employees. Businesses that did not qualify for the PPP will be given preference. Women, minority and veteran-owned businesses will also be given priority, along with businesses in rural areas.
“All small businesses need our help, but I’m proud that this grant program will specifically support rural, women, minority, and veteran-owned businesses,” said Young (D-Greeley). “We can’t leave any Coloradan behind, and this bill will give special attention to businesses that were overlooked by the Paycheck Protection Program while investing in our tourism industry, which is greatly suffering.”