The program aimed to provide short-term assistance to businesses in need of immediate cash injections. At the time, according to city officials, the average Chicago small business had only 28 days of cash, and some in areas like Englewood only had five.

But five months and more than 10,000 applications later, only about $ 17 million has been distributed to 625 small business owners, according to program records. Beneficiaries include restaurants, bars and brasseries, daycares and auto shops, salons, retailers, and heating and air conditioning companies.

The loan program was intended to fill gaps in the Small Business Administration’s salary protection program, but the slow pace of lending raises questions as to whether it is meeting its purpose.

“I don’t think anyone would say it’s fast enough,” says Brad McConnell, CEO of Accion, one of the city’s loan partners. “We all want to go faster, always, but it’s a lot faster than all the other loan alternatives.”

Even with the program so far below $ 100 million, he calls it a “crushing success” – both in terms of speed and dollars spent – compared to last year. “For all of 2019, we funded $ 3.8 million in loans,” he says. He says resilience loans are also faster and more targeted than the $ 1.8 million Accion managed in PPP loans.

It wasn’t fast enough for Shayna Norwood, owner of the Steel Petal Press card and gift shop in Logan Square. Norwood, who applied on April 3, says she “gave up” on getting a loan from the Resilience Fund after receiving emails saying how overloaded the program was. On May 18, the city encouraged her “to seek other funding opportunities,” noting that there were more than 1,850 applications before hers.

She received a PPP loan in mid-April. To stay open, Steel Petal Press moved its operations online, instituted curbside pickup, offered personalized treatment packages, and focused on high-demand items like puzzles, masks and sanitizers. It also cut staff hours, pulled out of trade shows, and cut back on wholesale purchases.

McConnell says that candidate interest has waned over the weeks. During the first months of the program, 2 out of 3 applicants responded with interest in obtaining a loan. Now it’s more like 1 in 6, he says.

Could it be because these companies went bankrupt? McConnell acknowledges this possibility, but says some owners might have gotten a better deal, like a grant they won’t have to repay or P3 loans that will largely be forfeited if business owners keep staff on hand. tomorrow.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.