Columbia University Launches Emergency Loan Fund for Local Small Businesses

June 08, 2020

Columbia University today announced the creation of the Columbia Emergency Loan Fund for Small Businesses, a relief program that will disperse working capital to assist small local businesses struggling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic as New York City enters Phase I of reopening.  

The Emergency Loan Fund will support small businesses, north of 96th Street, as they restock, rehire and reconfigure, so that they may continue and/or resume operations while adhering to mandated health protocols (e.g. social distancing). The Columbia-Harlem Small Business Development Center (C-H SBDC), housed at Columbia Business School, will assist clients with loan application preparation. C-H SBDC has provided technical assistance to thousands of local community-based businesses since 2009, and is now helping many of those enterprises to survive the pandemic, including assistance with applying for federal small business relief.

Small businesses are the economic engine of the United States and New York City. Recent statistics indicate that 40 percent of small businesses in New York, employing close to three million workers, might fail, leaving nearly 1.5 million people without jobs.

C-H SBDC provides one-on-one counseling with business advisors and technical assistance through workshops and programs that model many of the offerings of the University’s top-ranked MBA program at no cost. Initiatives include the Harlem Local Vendors Program, Pitch Workshop Series & Competition, Columbia Community Business Program (CCBP), and the Brand Story Workshop & Series Competition. The newest program, Business Model Pivot, is designed to teach business owners how to create innovative revenue models and cost structures for new business development projects in organizations that have been affected by COVID-19.

These restaurants and local vendors are our neighbors. We wouldn’t be a community without them, and we hope this effort helps as many as possible to survive the pandemic’s devastating economic blow.

Lee C. Bollinger, President of Columbia University

Two loan programs are available; each designed to meet the specific needs of an individual business with loans ranging from $500 to $50,000. Both programs offer low interest rates and a grace period. Columbia Business School will administer and review applications. Columbia University will make final decisions and distribute the loan funds to selected applicants. The C-H SBDC will liaise with selected loan recipients to provide technical support.

For more information about the loan program and technical support offered, please visit the Columbia-Harlem Small Business Development Center website.