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Oklahoma City Council Approves $5.5M Small Business Continuity Program for COVID-19 Emergency Relief

The Oklahoma City Council approved an unprecedented $5.5 million emergency relief program for local small businesses on Tuesday.

The Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City, the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and the City of Oklahoma City built the framework of the proposal, called the Small Business Continuity Program. It’s based on research of what other communities are doing nationally and globally to save their local small businesses as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

It’s the first emergency aid package directly from the City government to local businesses in modern Oklahoma City history.

The program is funded by $5.5 million from general obligation bonds included in the Economic and Community Development component of the Better Streets, Safer City program.

“Our goal is to develop an online platform that can accept applications for assistance by April 6,” said Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City President and CEO Cathy O’Connor. “We want to make sure small business owners Citywide know about the program, particularly those who own businesses in vulnerable census tracts.”

  • Incentive Program ($1.5 million)
    • Cash incentives, on a reimbursement basis, up to $10,000 for retained employee payroll. Qualifying businesses must have fewer than 15 full-time equivalent employees.  
  • Loan Program ($3 million)
    • No Interest Forgivable Loans: 10-year, 0% interest loans up to $50,000. Qualifying businesses must have fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees. Long-term employee retention and other requirements could lead to loan forgiveness over time.
    • Low Interest Loans: 10-year, 2% interest loans from $50,000 to $100,000. Qualifying businesses must have fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees.  
  • Technical Assistance Program ($500,000)
    • Pre-qualified local subject-matter experts will provide technical assistance in these areas and more:
      • Applying, processing and compliance for federal Small Business Administration (SBA) loans and other federal, state and local assistance programs.
      • Online business platform and e-commerce channel development.
      • Best practices for remote working (maintaining employee productivity, etc.)
      • Legal best practices (extended worker leave, etc.)

A committee will review and approve applications.

Go to covid19.okc.gov for the latest local updates and guidance on the coronavirus pandemic.  

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