Bennet: Colorado Small Businesses Eligible for SBA Disaster Assistance

Ten Colorado Counties Designated Natural Disaster Areas

Washington, DC—Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet announced that small non-farm businesses in ten Colorado counties are eligible to apply for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). These loans are intended to offset economic losses because of reduced revenues caused by ongoing drought that began January 1, 2011. The affected counties are Baca, Bent, Crowley, El Paso, Kiowa, Las Animas, Lincoln, Prowers, Pueblo, and Otero.

“Small businesses are the drivers of our economy, especially in our rural communities. In these tough economic times it’s more important than ever that these small businesses get the relief they need as farmers and ranchers affected by this drought weather the economic storm,” Bennet said. “I encourage all eligible small business owners to enroll in this assistance from the SBA.”

Small, non-farm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private, non-profit organizations of any size may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred.

Loan eligibility is based on the financial impact of the disaster rather than on physical property damage. The loans have a maximum term of thirty years at an interest rate of 4% for businesses and 3% for private, non-profit organizations. They are available to small businesses and most private non-profits that lack the ability to offset the shortfall in revenue.

By law, SBA makes EIDLs available when the U. S. Secretary of Agriculture designates an agricultural disaster. Secretary Tom Vilsack declared this disaster at the request of Governor John Hickenlooper.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure Web site at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

Disaster loan information and application forms are also available from SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling SBA toll-free at (800) 659-2955, emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov, or visiting SBA’s Web site at www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance. Hearing impaired individuals may call (800) 877-8339.

The deadline to apply for these loans is February 24, 2012.