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Federal government will distribute $200M to support small NC businesses

Anastasiia Chepinska

North Carolina small businesses will soon get a financial leg up from the federal government. The U.S. Treasury Department announced it has approved the state's application for funding under the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI).

North Carolina is now slated to receive up to $202 million to "promote small business growth and entrepreneurship." The SSBCI program is funded through the federal COVID-19 relief package known as the American Rescue Plan.

According to a federal treasury department statement, North Carolina will use the funds to "operate three different programs, including a loan participation program to which it has allocated $160 million."

The state has partnered with the NC Rural Center to administer the program with the goal of helping to support "small business recovery" and to "revitalize central business districts," the treasury says.

In North Carolina, there were more than 170,000 new business applications in 2021 alone. According to the latest census data, that's double the figure from just four years prior. About 32% of people employed in North Carolina work at companies with fewer than 100 workers, according to Census.

But these young businesses, especially in underserved communities, can struggle with access to capital. The State Small Business Credit Initiative should provide some relief to these upstarts.

A boom in new small businesses is happening across the country, President Biden said during Small Business Week last month.

"We saw businesses with fewer than 50 workers create jobs last year at the highest rate ever recorded," said Biden.

The federal seed loan is intended to help businesses leverage that funding into bigger loans from financial institutions to sustainably grow.

WUNC's Laura Pellicer contributed to this report.

Jason deBruyn is the WUNC health reporter, a beat he took in 2020. He has been in the WUNC newsroom since 2016.