CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Good news for small businesses. Federal and state programs are rolling out to lessen the financial blow of this pandemic.

“We needed to figure something out as a business to survive this," said Jordan Dollard, whose retail consulting firm Esther & Elsa was gearing up for a busy season of Charlotte festivals and events, when the pandemic screeched everything to a halt.

“Our revenue stream was cut," she said.

It’s the hard reality for so many businesses right now – suddenly stuck between a rock and a hard place.

“It’s a balance of keeping your business afloat and what you can do, but there’s very little money to be made right now," Dollard said.

A federal stimulus bill set to be voted on Friday would provide the small business administration with 349 billion dollars to fund relief loans.

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The Tarheel State is making moves, too. House Speaker Tim Moore announced this week that the Golden Leaf Foundation, a North Carolina nonprofit dedicated to supporting the state economy, is rolling out interest-free loans for NC businesses, with no payments due for 6 months. You can apply online.

For information on Golden Lead's NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program and to apply for a loan visit https://ncrapidrecovery.org/.

To speak with someone about this program or other resources available to small businesses contact BLNC at 800.228.8443.

State Senator Rob Bryan taking to Facebook live to reassure business owners.

“What we really want to do is keep folks employed right," he said. "The small business packages that are coming out through the federal government and some of the state programs will be a focus we want to make sure people can get access to that very quickly...so folks can get money and keep their businesses operational."

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Meanwhile, many businesses scrambling to shift to online sales.

Dollard, for example, is working with Charlotte area vendors to curate boxes of local products.

“Themes from working from home, self-care, schools canceled kids, all about what we’re all going through right now," Dollard said. 

The boxes can be purchased here.

“We just need to get creative and figure out how to survive, or it’s OK to hunker down because this will end," she said. "The tough part is we don’t know when it will end but it will and we’re going to come out stronger and better.”

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