Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development authority, is offering zero-interest loans to aid small businesses to survive through the coronavirus pandemic.

The Business Continuity Loan Fund is starting with $1.5 million provided as part of an emergency funding package ordered by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

“The fund will offer small businesses zero-interest loans to address a lack of working capital and cash flows as a result of reduced consumer demand, the ability to fulfill product or service orders and other economic conditions,” according to Invest Atlanta’s website.

The fund will offer loans ranging from $5,000 to $30,000 per applicant. The terms are up to five years with 0% interest and a six- to 12-month deferment available before first payments are due. There is no fee to apply.

To be eligible, an organization must be: within the city of Atlanta; a for-profit or a nonprofit or not-for-profit that “contributes to trade”; have 50 or fewer full-time employees; have been in operations for at least one year; and be current on city taxes, city licensing and rent or mortgage payments.

Declared ineligible are: adult businesses; passive real estate investment companies; businesses involved in gambling except those that make a minor percent of revenue from lottery tickets; and businesses owned or operated by city or Invest Atlanta officials.

The Business Continuinity Loan Fund is a revolving loan fund, meaning that repayments will be used to support further loans during officially declared emergencies.

For more information, see the Invest Atlanta website here.

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.