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SBDC consultant offers assistance with COVID business relief loans and much more

Local businesses have until March 15 to apply for a modified COVID-related business relief loan. Changes made at the urging of the Cook County-Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA) mean that some of the loans to be distributed may be partially forgiven.

Small Business Development Center Consultant Pat Campanaro is overseeing the Iron Range Resources Taconite Area Business Relief Loan Program and she is eager to talk to businesses about the changes to the program. Campanaro works with the EDA and the Cook County Chamber to help businesses all the time, but according to Cook County Chamber Director Jim Boyd, her services are even more important during the pandemic.

In a news release about the changed program, Chamber Director Boyd said the EDA/SBDC recently funded 42 loans–fewer than anticipated. Campanaro said she believes that is because business owner are still being cautious about taking on more debt during this uncertain time.

In February, the EDA began offering two loan products at zero interest, a $7,500 loan to be used toward working capital and a $15,000 loan that can be used for capital improvements. Quarterly debt service payments on both loans will begin in October 2021.

To apply businesses must fill out an on-line application and provide a personal financial statement. If approved, a personal guaranty will also be required.

The determination if a business owner is eligible for loan forgiveness will be made in the summer of 2023. To qualify the business must have submitted a quarterly financial statement to the EDA and made its quarterly loan payments.

The EDA currently has $215,000 available on a first-come, first-served basis. The application must be received no later than March 15, 2021.

Loan guidelines and the application are available on the EDA website.

SBDC Consultant Campanaro is also available to answer questions about the program. She can be reached by email at or by calling 651-336-2964.

WTIP’s Rhonda Silence visited with Pat Campanaro to learn more about the business relief grants and also to learn more about the work of the Small Business Development Center here in Cook County.