How to get a small business loan in Charlotte

Nick Sikiotis, left, 32, and his mother Joanna Sikiotis, 62, center, serve customers at Green's Lunch in Charlotte on Thursday.  The Green's Lunch, tucked away in downtown Charlotte on West 4th Street, is a nearly 100-year-old business that's grappling with labor shortages and higher prices on everything from ingredients to Covered.

Nick Sikiotis, left, 32, and his mother Joanna Sikiotis, 62, center, serve customers at Green’s Lunch in Charlotte on Thursday. The Green’s Lunch, tucked away in downtown Charlotte on West 4th Street, is a nearly 100-year-old business that’s grappling with labor shortages and higher prices on everything from ingredients to Covered.

john@johndsimmons.photo

Millions of dollars in grants are awarded to small businesses each year through federal, state and local government programs.

And some local businesses have received funding to help their establishments.

Recently, two small businesses in Charlotte recently received $75,000 grants to develop innovative technologies, according to a press release from the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

Software company Amissa received a grant to develop an artificial intelligence platform to improve the safety and care of patients with Alzheimer’s disease, and Smart Girls HQ, an education solutions provider, has secured funding to create a game-based educational platform that inspires young girls to pursue careers in TIGE.

Although governments do not provide grants for business start-ups, debt repayments, or operating expenses, Charlotte small business owners can apply for loan programs to cut costs, with resources found online and elsewhere, such as Charlotte Business Resources.

Here are some small business loan programs in the Charlotte area.

Meck Loan

Meck Lending is a loan program of the Carolina Small Business Development Fund, a nonprofit organization that supports small businesses in North Carolina, which provides attractive loans to small businesses in Mecklenburg County.

To qualify, businesses must have 50 or fewer full-time employees and annual sales of less than $2 million. Owners are also required to provide up to three years of personal tax returns, personal financial statements, and a copy of their driver’s license.

Applicants must also submit the following documents:

  • Up to three years of business tax returns

  • Profit and loss accounts since the beginning of the year

  • Cumulative balance sheet

  • Current company bank statement

  • Rental agreement or mortgage statement

  • A year of cash flow projections spreadsheet

To start the process, interested applicants can contact the Carolina Small Business Development Fund’s Business Solutions Team online or at 704-409-5900.

Mobilization loan for small businesses

The City of Charlotte is offering Small Business Mobilization Loans of up to $75,000 to help small business owners in Mecklenburg County obtain short-term, low-rate financing when participating in municipal projects.

Eligible businesses must be certified as small businesses for at least two consecutive years, according to the City of Charlotte’s website.

Applicants for this loan will need the following:

  • Two years of business tax returns

  • Two years of personal tax returns

  • A current personal financial statement showing a personal net worth of less than $750,000

  • Copy of eligible municipal contract

  • Statement of use of funds

  • Two letters of recommendation from the contractors

  • Two letters of recommendation from professional references

  • Written explanation of past credit issues if necessary

Loan applications can be completed online. Those who do not qualify for the loan will be referred to other community resources for financial assistance, according to the city’s website.

US Small Business Administration

The US Small Business Administration helps small businesses by offering plenty of loans to help startups get the financing they need, with lower down payments, flexible overhead, and no collateral needed for some.

Here are some of the types of loans they offer:

  • 7(a) Loans: A group of SBA loans that guarantee portions of the total, cap interest rates, and limit fees

  • 504 loans: Long-term, fixed-rate financing for the purchase of real estate, equipment, machinery or other assets

  • Microloans: loans of $50,000 or less to help businesses grow

In order to obtain an SBA-backed loan, applicants can enter their zip code on Lender Match to find local lenders.

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Evan Moore is a duty reporter for the Charlotte Observer. He grew up in Denver, North Carolina, where he previously worked as a reporter for the Denver Citizen, and graduated from UNC Charlotte.

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