Loan forgiveness amount increases for flood-impacted small business owners

Halen Doughty

Small business owners impacted by the 2016 floods will now have a larger portion of their rebuilding loans repaid thanks to changes implemented by Governor John Bel Edwards and the Office of Community Development. The Restore Louisiana Small Business Program offers interest-free loans to flood affected businesses.

The interest-free loans range from $10,000 to $150,000. If qualified borrowers meet all requirements, 40 percent of the loan will be forgiven once 60 percent has been repaid. The previous forgivable amount was 20 percent. So far, $8.3 million in loans have been processed.

Additionally, the application process to join the $43 million loan program has been extended. An exact deadline has not yet been announced. Until then, flood-impacted small businesses and nonprofits in the 51 affected parishes are encouraged to apply immediately through one of the qualified lenders.

“We have about 200 applications going through the loan process now,” LaSonta Davenport, economic development manager with the Governor’s Office of Community Development and the Restore Louisiana program, said. “Our data indicates there are many more business owners out there who were affected by the 2016 floods who could use assistance.”

The loans can be used for working capital including rent, mortgages, utilities, employee wages, and inventory. They cannot, however, be used for construction-related expenses. Eligible borrowers are referred to a local office of the Small Business Administration's Small Business Development Centers, which offer technical expertise with business recovery and disaster-preparedness planning.

For more information on the Small Business Program, visit

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