BEMIDJI -- Another financial program to help businesses continue trudging through the coronavirus pandemic has been established, this one by the Headwaters Regional Development Commission.

According to a press release, the new program is a COVID-19 loan fund, designed to provide dollars to businesses and entrepreneurs adversely impacted by the pandemic. Loans will be available throughout the HRDC's five county region, which includes Beltrami, Clearwater, Hubbard, Lake of the Woods and Mahnomen.

"Our fund is available to any business that has been negatively affected by COVID-19," said HRDC Loan Specialist Sarah Linda. "We're not focusing on any specific industry or type of business. This is designed to help all businesses respond to, and become more resilient to crises."

In accordance with the HRDC's existing plans, Linda said the loans will start at $10,000 and max out per borrower at $350,000. There's no deadline at this time to apply for the fund either, as Linda said the approach of the fund is to meet demand.

Interest rates for the loans start as low as 0%, and the release said HRDC staff will work with applicants to create flexible repayment terms.

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The fund itself was made possible by the United States Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration, which awarded the HRDC $3.4 million. Linda said the HRDC applied for the dollars in May and received notification of the award at the end of July.

Linda said those dollars will be integral to keeping local small businesses running.

"Small businesses across Minnesota and the U.S. have really suffered as a result of the pandemic" Linda said. "What we're trying to get out is that we want to make sure we're making good loans that are affordable to businesses across the board."

Business owners can find more information to apply for loans at