COVID-19 Business Resources

Below, you will find information and links to organizations who provide rapid-response relief for businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more about how Isothermal Planning and Development Commission can help you, your business, and your employees during this uncertain time, please click here to be taken to the IPDC staff directory.

Email with any questions and an IPDC staff member will contact you directly.


On March 27, the Senate passed a roughly $2 trillion coronavirus response bill intended to speed relief across the American economy. This is the third aid package from Congress and is meant to keep businesses and individuals afloat during an unprecedented freeze on the majority of American life.

The main features for small businesses are emergency grants and a forgivable loan program for companies with 500 or fewer employees. There are also changes to rules for expenses and deductions meant to make it easier for companies to keep employees on the payroll and stay open in the near-term.

  • Paycheck Protection Program Loan Guarantee: There is $350 billion allocated for the Small Business Administration to provide loans of up to $10 million per business. Any portion of that loan used to maintain payroll, keep workers on the books or pay for rent, mortgage and existing debt could be forgiven, provided workers stay employed through the end of June. Click here to learn more.
    • Click here for a sample application for the PPP Loan
    • Apply ASAP because there is a funding cap
    • How to Apply: PPP loans are issued directly by banks and other participating lenders. Check with your bank or credit union to see if they are participating and ask how you can get in line to apply. Click here to find a lender. Call your bank to learn more.

SBA EIDL & Emergency Advance Video

Tips for Applying for EIDL and PPP

  • Apply! If you need funding now, or think you may need it in the future, you might as well apply now. You’re under no obligation to take the loan
  • Apply for EIDL online here
  • Apply for PPP through your bank or an SBA approved lender. Click here for a list
  • EIDLs are based on working capital needs, so make sure you have a good sense of what those are. 
  • You can apply for both types of loans, as long as they cover different expenses (not a duplicative purpose). This is also true if you’re pursuing other local or regional government assistance.
  • For the EIDLs in particular, the SBA does not work with “loan packagers.” So, there’s no need to pay someone to put an application together for you. You can apply directly through the website. 
  • Make sure to specify the economic loss as it pertains to COVID-19. There’s no need to fill out the physical damage part, if that doesn’t apply to you.
  • Click Here for a List of Banks in North Carolina who Provide SBA Loans
  • Click here for an overview and comparison guide for SBA Emergency Loans (EIDL and PPP)
  • US Chamber of Commerce – Coronavirus Small Business Guide
  • Mountain BizWorks Recorded Webinar – Navigating COVID-19 Financial Resources
  • PPP – Overview
  • PPP – Information Sheet for Borrowers
  • PPP – Information Sheet for Lenders

Information on the CARES Act

Small Business Administration Resources

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in modified and additional SBA resources to help our small businesses, small aquacultural businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and/or most private nonprofit organizations.

SBA Resources for Counseling and Training

The following SBA backed organizations provide assistance to small businesses in the state; email and phone counseling are available.

COVID-19 Essential Businesses

Under Executive Order 121, issued by Governor Roy Cooper on March 27, 2020:

Businesses excluded from the list of COVID-19 Essential Businesses and Operations set forth in this Executive Order who believe that they may be essential may direct requests to be included to the North Carolina Department of Revenue (the “Department”). The Department may grant such request if it determines that it is in the best interest of the State to have the business continue operations in order to properly respond to this COVID-19 pandemic. The Department shall post on its website a point of contact and procedure for businesses seeking to be designated as essential. A business that has made a request to the Department to be included as a COVID-19 Essential Business or Operation may continue to operate until that request is acted upon.

Businesses designated as Essential Business and Operation are listed in the Executive Order.

Request to be Considered an Essential Business 

If your business is not listed among essential businesses that can remain open, you may submit a request to be considered an essential business. Click here to submit a request.

Upon submission, you will receive an email acknowledgement. Per the Executive Order, a business that has made a request to the Department to be included as a COVID-19 Essential Business or Operation may continue to operate until that request is acted upon.

While the web form is the preferred method, you may also submit the request by email if you are unable to use the web form.

While the web form is the preferred method, you may also submit the request by email if you are unable to use the web form.  

You must include this information in your email: 

  • Legal Name 
  • Doing Business As (D/B/A, if applicable) 
  • Sales and Use Tax Registration Number (if applicable) 
  • Address
  • Name of Contact Person
  • Email Address 
  • Phone Number 
  • Website 
  • Description of Business
  • Justification: Please provide a brief explanation of why your business should be designated as essential. 

All information submitted is subject to North Carolina public records laws.

North Carolina COVID-19 Rapid Recovery for Small Businesses

The Golden LEAF Foundation announced $15 million in funding to launch a rapid recovery loan program in response to economic losses related to Coronavirus (COVID-19). Golden LEAF funding will support the NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program by enabling loans to be made to eligible businesses for up to $50,000 with zero interest and no payments for six months. If not repaid in six months, the loan will automatically convert to a term loan.

The NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program is managed by the NC Rural Center, a statewide nonprofit that has been supporting small business owners for more than 30 years. The Rural Center will lead a broad coalition of nonprofit lending partners to directly assist small business owners. Participating Rapid Recovery organizations include Business Expansion Funding Corporation (BEFCOR), Carolina Small Business Development Fund, Mountain BizWorks, Natural Capital Investment Fund, and Thread Capital. Click here for more info.

Mountain BizWorks COVID-19 Resources

Mountain BizWorks is a U.S. Treasury certified non-profit community development financial institution (CDFI). For nearly 30 years, Mountain BizWorks has been making business loans ranging from $1,000 to $250,000 to small businesses in Western North Carolina who may find it difficult to secure funding from banks and other traditional sources.

COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Lending Program

Mountain BizWorks is joining with partners from across the state to launch an innovative recovery resource – the NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Lending Program. This program is being launched with an initial allocation of $15 million from the Golden LEAF Foundation to the NC Rural Center who is coordinating the multi-lender partnership.

Mountain BizWorks issued NC COVID-19 loans are not designed to be a singular source of assistance for small businesses. Repayment is expected either from more permanent funding sources or from the future cash flow of the business.

  • Maximum loan size: $50,000
  • 6 months of no interest and no payments, followed by 48 months of principal and interest payments at 5.5% interest

Click here to learn more about Mountain BizWorks Rapid Response Loan.

Mountain BizWorks Resources for Small Businesses

  • CARES Act – The Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship has created a guide for small business owners on topics including the Payroll Protection Program (PPP), the expanded SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans and $10,000 grants, and the Small Business Debt Relief Program. Click here for a link to the guide.
  • COVID-19 Disaster Financing – Mountain BizWorks offers resources for COVID-19 funding programs for small businesses. These resources include the NC Rapid Recovery Loan mentioned above.
  • One-On-One Coaching and Technical Assistance – Mountain BizWorks offers individualized one-on-one coaching and technical assistance for small business owners. To learn more about these resources, reach out to Mike Ames at

Facebook Small Business Grants Program

Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries. Click here to sign up for updates and learn more.

Natural Capital Investment Fund COVID-19 Grants

The Natural Capital Investment Fund is offering $1 Million in grants from $5,000 to $25,000 for businesses in MD, NJ, NC, OH, PA, SC, VA, WV and Washington, D.C. Businesses must have been in operation as of August 1, 2019 and have no more than 10 full time employees and no more than $1 million in annual revenue. 

NOTE: As of March 26th, the existing funds are oversubscribed. We do expect more funding for the program, so PLEASE COMPLETE AN APPLICATION TO GET YOUR “HAT IN THE RING!” Click here for more information. 

Rutherford Town Rising Angel Fund

Rutherford Town Rising (RTR) is developing a fund to provide critical assistance to Rutherfordton businesses that have been hit hard by the effects of COVID-19. Our downtown businesses are being crushed, either closing completely or having to pare down drastically just to keep open.  

Beyond the current crisis, this fund will be used to support the future critical needs of Rutherfordton businesses individually or as a group.

This program will provide funding of up to $3,000 to cover rent, utilities and other critical operating expenses for local businesses in need. The first $1,000 is considered a grant, the remaining funds up to $3,000 will be an interest-free 24-month loan from RTR.

To learn more about the RTR Angel Fund and to apply, click here. If you have the resources to become an Angel and want more information or to give to this Fund and help local business click here.

General Small Business Loans

Resources for Small Businesses

Medical Product Production

If you know of a business that is interested in pivoting production to a needed medical product, please refer them to Matt Kemnitz (contact information below) from North Carolina Emergency Management. Matt is working with NC State University on a process for technical assistance for these companies.

Matt Kemnitz
AD – Administration
North Carolina Emergency Management

Pivoting Your Company to Produce Medical PPE

For Textile Companies

This week the Carolina Textile District (CTD) announced a major initiative to assist in the production of medical PPE.  A textile company that would like to produce PPE can utilize the resource below to be put in touch with the Carolina Textile District to produce the needed PPE.  The CTD has purchased FDA approved material and can distribute the material to manufacturers that are willing to help.  The CTD is also collecting data from hospitals and medical providers as to their needs.

Click here to learn more and click on “We will help produce PPE.”

For Non-Textile Companies

NC State University and IES is compiling data on companies that can produce medical PPE.  For companies that would like to begin producing PPE or already producing PPE please click here.

NC Emergency Management Essential Industry List Guidance

NC Emergency Management has a process to vet businesses and allow them the ability to move employees IF an emergency or shelter in place order should be put into place. The steps for a business to follow are:

  • Email
  • In the email, provide the following:
    • Business name
    • Point of Contact including:
      • Name
      • Email
      • Phone number
      • Address
    • Nature of their business and why they are critical to continue operations
    • Business website