Covid19 Business Grants and Loans

Need emergency funding for your small business? Learn more about loan programs and select grant opportunities for small businesses affected by Covid-19. 

Loan Programs

NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Lending Program

Supported by the Golden Leaf Foundation, the North Carolina COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Lending program supports North Carolina small businesses and family farms as they recover from the economic impact of COVID-19. This rapid recovery loan helps small businesses bridge the gap between when crisis strikes and when federal loans, insurance payouts, and other relief funds are approved, or businesses have time to recover. 

Loan Details

  • Loans are available for up to $50,000, based on the business’s current revenue.
  • Loan terms are six months with no interest and no payments, followed by 48 months of principal and interest payments at 5.5% interest.
  • Applicants must be a North Carolina small business affected by COVID-19 (all 100 NC counties are eligible).
  • Start-up businesses that began operations before March 23, 2020 are eligible.

Click here to learn more or to apply.

SBA Economic Injury Loans

The US Small Business Administration is offering designated states, including North Carolina,  low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).  

The loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%. 

Update (June 16): The SBA is now accepting new applications for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and Advances again.

Learn more about these loans or apply.  

Grant Programs

New! NC Commerce Job Retention Grant (JRG)

North Carolina businesses and certain nonprofits that missed out on other COVID-19 relief funds can now apply for a new state program offering up to $250,000 in grants to help companies maintain their workforce. State lawmakers provided $15 million for the grants being awarded by Commerce. The funding is part of a larger $500 million Covid-19 relief measure signed by the Governor July 1st. The new grants are an entitlement program - if qualified applicants request amounts that total more than the $15 million available, each grant award will be reduced proportionally.

Grant recipients must not have participated in the federal Paycheck Protection Program, the federal Main Street Lending Program, or the North Carolina Rapid Recovery Loan Program. In addition, an eligible business or nonprofit must meet the following conditions: 

• It employs at least 90% of the number of full-time workers during the COVID-19 period (defined as March 1 to May 31) in North Carolina as it employed at the end of February. 

• It demonstrates that it experienced an economic loss due to the pandemic. For a business, that means its sales for the COVID-19 period are at least 10% below sales for the same period last year. For a nonprofit, that requires its gross receipts for the COVID-19 period are at least 10% below its gross receipts for the same period last year.

 Applications for the Job Retention Grant (JRG) program are now closed, but we're publishing some older information about the program for reference purposes. The JRG program was initally funded for $15 million.  On September 4, an additional $45.5 million was appropriated to the program, bringing the total of available funds to $60.5 million.  However, this amount still falls short of meeting the needs of the current pool of applicants. Therefore, additional applications can not be accepted at the present time.

Click Here to Apply 

Small Diverse Business Emergency Relief Fund

The Institute, the Women’s Business Center of North Carolina, the Women’s Business Center of Charlotte, and the South Atlantic Small Business Transportation Resource Center are partnering on the establishment of the Small Diverse Business Emergency Relief Fund. With the state and local shelter-in-place ordinances for citizens, many small businesses and entrepreneurs are experiencing significant economic impact.

This fund is open to minority or women-owned small businesses whose operations & revenue are affected by reduced customers, and clients.  The relief fund will provide grants for up to $1,000 for rent, utilities, and other operational expenses of small businesses that have been impacted by a decline in business due to COVID-19.  These funds are not expected to be repaid.  Businesses applying for grant funds must operate in North Carolina, be a small minority owned business, and must demonstrate the immediate needs for resources.  Funds will be administered through the Women’s Business Center of North Carolina.

Click Here to Learn More and Apply

The Red Backpack Funds for Female Entrepreneurs by Sara Blakeley

The Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation has donated $5 million to support female entrepreneurs in the wake of COVID-19 and has teamed up with GlobalGiving to establish The Red Backpack Fund. The goal of The Red Backpack Fund is to provide the opportunity for women-owned small businesses and nonprofits to continue to operate and thrive. The Fund seeks to elevate women in this time of need.  GlobalGiving is making at least 1,000 grants of $5,000 each to female entrepreneurs in the U.S. to help alleviate the impact of the crisis. 


  • You are at least 51% majority-women owned
  • You have withheld payroll taxes for at least one employee in addition to yourself (unfortunately, we are unable to accept applications from sole proprietors or individuals who exclusively employ contractors at this time)
  • You are registered in the U.S. and its territories as a legal entity and have a valid EIN number
  • You have fewer than 50 employees
  • Your annual revenues did not exceed $5M in any of the past three years
  • You are 18 years or older


Each month, GlobalGiving will accept fund applications. 

Click here to be Notified When Applications are Reopened

Hello Alice Grants

This opportunity offers immediate grants of $10,000 to businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic. $10,000 COVID-19 Business for All Grants are awarded on a rolling basis.

General Business for All Grant applications are due September 25, 2020 at 12:00 am PT.

Learn More and Apply