BEDC expands support for businesses impacted by Covid-19 restrictions
In response to the impact of public health closure and restrictions notices this month, and during March, the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation has issued advice on how it can help small and mid-sized businesses.
BEDC will continue to assist with education webinars and courses to help businesses learn skills to “pivot, sustain, and continue; and through a range of funding products to enable businesses to survive and eventually thrive”.
It said that, through a grant from the Bermuda Government, it continues to support businesses in need of funding through a number of products, namely:
1. BEDC Covid-19 emergency grants – through BEDC.
2. BEDC Covid-19 combined loans/grants – through BEDC
3. BEDC Covid-19 loan guarantees – through banks and the Bermuda Credit Union
4. BEDC Covid-19 overdraft guarantees – through banks
5. BEDC micro loans (increased amounts) – through BEDC
6. BEDC loan guarantees – through banks and the Bermuda Credit Union
From 9am tomorrow, businesses can go online to www.bedc.bm to apply for the updated and expanded Covid-19 emergency grants as well as updated and expanded Covid-19 combined loans/grants under the Business Continuity & Sustainability Funding programme.
The emergency grants will be used to cover immediate costs associated with recurring expenses including rent, utilities, social insurance, and health insurance premiums.
Funding thresholds will remain divided into the five bands of financing established last year as part of BEDC’s Covid-19 Business Continuity & Sustainability Funding programme.
The first four bands are allocated to small businesses and the last band is earmarked for medium-sized businesses as defined by BEDC’s legislation.
Emergency grant funding will be available in maximum amounts ranging from $5,000 to $7,000 per business. Business impacted by public health notice closures and restrictions in December and January, who received an emergency grant already, can reapply for another, however the maximum amounts available to these businesses will be 80 per cent of the grant.
BEDC initially set aside $1 million in Covid-19 funding support provided by the Government for emergency grant relief. The total amount of funds available can be increased if determined additional support is needed and demand is high.
The programme will be in place until the funds are exhausted or until deemed no longer necessary.
In addition to the emergency grants, BEDC has revised the Covid-19 combined loan/grant funding available under its Business Continuity & Sustainability Funding Programme that was launched last April.
This allows businesses impacted by Covid-19 to apply for higher amounts of funding support than the emergency grants can provide, to address immediate operating/working capital payables such as rent, payroll, utilities, insurance, and fees. Immediate inventory payables or supplies needs can be considered on a case-by-case basis.
There will be very limited use of funds under this programme for capital purposes. Impacted business can apply for total maximum funding (combined loan/grant) ranging from $10,000 to $40,000 depending on business size.
The BEDC said it is realised that the impacts of Covid-19 have lasted longer than anticipated. As such, businesses who have been helped previously with this product have the ability to reapply for additional funding under this programme as long as the request is for Covid-19 impacts on the business as defined above.
The maximum amount of additional funds available for businesses reapplying will be 75 per cent of the maximum funding allowed with the first approval. The maximum grant portion available for those requesting additional funds will be 25 per cent of the total funding for small businesses and 15 per cent of total funding for medium businesses.
Priority of funding will be given to first-time applicants to ensure as many businesses are assisted as possible.
Businesses reapplying will be required to submit an updated application form as well as updated information about their business. Businesses will be limited to reapplying once over the life of the programme. This means the first application and one reapplication.
Full details of both programmes can be found online at www.bedc.bm.
In addition, from April 19 BEDC will introduce its expanded micro-loan programme, which will offer larger direct loans ranging from $30,000 to $70,000 as a supplement to the current micro-loan programme.
It will also share updates to its Guarantee Programme consisting of guarantees for loans and overdrafts issued by financial institutions.
For more information about the Covid-19 emergency grants and BEDC’s Covid-19 funding programme, visit the BEDC website at www.bedc.bm, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org