Columbia Emergency Loan Fund

The Columbia Emergency Loan Fund for Small Businesses is a relief program that disperses capital to assist small businesses struggling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.  Recent reports indicate that 40 percent of small businesses in New York, employing close to 3 million workers, could fail leaving nearly 1.5 million people without jobs.  The Fund amplifies Columbia's commitment to support local employment by small businesses in Upper Manhattan.

Loan Applicants must be clients of the Columbia-Harlem Small Business Development Center.  To become a client and apply for the loan as well as receive (pro-bono) business support,  click here  to request business counseling. 

Small Businesses Pivot Loan - Applications beginning July 1

  • For Independently Owned, Locally Managed Businesses with fewer than 50 employees to adapt new business model 
  • Must be a Storefront**
  • The business must be located north of 96th Street
  • Interest rate (3.75%)
  • Term-60 months
  • Grace period (12 months. Interest will accrue)
  • After 48 on time monthly payments, business becomes eligible 50% Loan Balance Forgiveness 
  • Loan Amount between $5,001-$50,000

**For the purposes of the loan program, “Storefront” is defined as “ground-floor or second-floor commercial premises that are visible from the street and accessible to the public directly from the street".  Street facing location is integral to business model.  If you have questions about whether your business will qualify as a storefront, please contact the SBDC before completing the application.

Businesses that are not eligible include:

  • Corporate-owned franchises
  • Not-for-profit social clubs
  • Branch banks
  • Payday loan stores
  • Pawnshops
  • Astrology, palmreading
  • Liquor stores, nightclubs
  • Adult bookstores, massage parlors, strip clubs
  • Track waging facilities
  • Trailer-storage yards
  • Marijuana dispensaries

Step 1-  Pivot Program Videos

Step 2- Using your Business Model Canvas, Complete Business Modification Slides.  ***If you need assistance completing the slides after developing your Business Model Canvas, email [email protected] for an counseling appointment.

Step 3- Review the Application PDF and gather additional required documents formatted as PDFs.

Step 4- Upload application answers to this link beginning July 1.  Once your application is received, expect an email confirming receipt within 48 hours. 

Step 5- The Columbia Harlem SBDC Disaster Relief Coordinator will contact you to (virtually) review your application with you and complete your application file. You must send digital required documents in advance of the virtual meeting.

Step 6- After your initial appointment with coordinator, Columbia University Loan Determination Approval Committee will contact applicants to schedule virtual interviews and site visit by committee member(s).

Step 7- Applicant Notification

Applicant will be contacted by email by the University Controller's Office and notified of the loan determination:

  • If loan is approved - they will coordinate disbursement of funds.
  • If loan is denied -the applicant will be referred to the Columbia-Harlem SBDC to explore other resources.

Business Model Pivot Program

This is the first step for applying for the loan. This program provides participants with an intensive, “hands-on” course focusing on creating innovative revenue models and cost structures for new business development projects in existing organizations that have been affectedby Covid-19. Participants will learn best practices in design thinking, business model development and validation,customer empathy and lean process development of new ideas that will create value for their customers. Learn how to estimate revenues based on market size data, creating innovative revenue streams, minimizing product development costs using lean methodologies, examined opportunities with strategic alliances, managing customer acquisition costs in a digital environment, and selecting the best performance measures to monitor business model scalability and growth.

For the program, click here.

What type of loan does the Columbia Loan Fund for Small Businesses offer?

Loan are offered:

  • Small Businesses Pivot Loan: $5,001 to $50,000. Application will be available July 1, 2020.

What types of businesses are eligible?

Small businesses with less than 50 employees. Start-up businesses and non-profit organizations are also eligible.  

What type of businesses are not eligible?

Ineligible businesses include:

  • Corporate-owned franchises
  • Not-for-profit social clubs
  • Branch banks
  • Payday loan stores
  • Pawnshops
  • Astrology, palm reading
  • Liquor stores, nightclubs
  • Adult bookstores, massage parlors, strip clubs
  • Track waging facilities
  • Trailer-storage yards
  • Marijuana dispensaries

How can loan funds be used?

Loan funds can be used for equipment, inventory, building renovations, operating capital, and business expansions. 

What are the typical loan terms, interest rates, and repayment plans?

The Loan Fund offers low interest rates and the opportunity to forgive a percentage of the loan based on a history of consistent repayment.

  • Small Businesses Pivot Loan ($5,001 to $50,000)
    • Interest rate: 3.75%
    • Term: 60 months
    • Grace period (12 months. Interest will accrue)
    •  After 48 on-time monthly payments, business becomes eligible for 50% Loan Balance Forgiveness

What are the eligibility requirements?

  • You must be a client of the Columbia-Harlem Small Business Development Center.  If you are not a client, you may request a Business Counselor click here.
  • The business must be located north of 96th Street
  • Submit an application form
  • Participate in an interview

What documents are needed to apply?

  • Tax returns
  • IRS form 4506-T
  • Business bank statements
  • Monthly point of sales reports
  • Quarterly NYS sales tax form
  • Credit report dated within the past 90 days (Equifax or TransUnion)
  • Completed W-9 form (must show same name and address as tax returns)
  • NYS legal identification 
  • Three references (i.e. landlord, vendor, supplier, client, and one personal reference permitted)

How long does it take to get a loan?

Once a completed application has been received and reviewed, an interview is scheduled for the applicant. Following the interview, it will take approximately 45 days to close the loan.

I got an email stating that my application is ON-HOLD.  What does this mean? 

All required documents were not received.  Please review the list of all required documents, gather them and send them at once using one of the secure methods listed in the application.

Does the Loan Fund offer grants to small businesses or start-up businesses?

We do not offer grants. All loans must be repaid.

What if I want to pay more than my monthly payment? Can I pay off my loan early?

There is no penalty for either.

How do I get started?

Contact us at: 646-745-8573 or [email protected] , if you are ready to apply online.

I don’t think the Loan Fund is right for me. Where else can I go?

The following websites may provide resources that will fit your needs.