Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) recently approved 41 loans to businesses in its 20-county region through the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s (DEED) Small Business Emergency Loan program totaling $1 million.

This program provides partially forgivable loans to restaurants, bars, hair salons and other public accommodations impacted by Minnesota Executive Orders 20-04 and 20-08. The loans are intended to cover up to three months of operating expenses and can range from $2,500 to $35,000.

SMIF is one of nearly two dozen statewide organizations that accepted applications for this program. The entirety of the $1 million loan pool that was allocated to SMIF was utilized for the 41 loans. Statewide, more than 700 loans have been approved through the DEED program for a total of $19.9 million.

The businesses that received loans include hair salons, fitness centers, restaurants, cafes and breweries. These businesses operate in the following counties: Martin,Blue Earth, Brown, Dodge, Freeborn, Goodhue, Le Sueur,  Mower, Nicollet, Olmsted, Rice, Wabasha, Waseca and Winona.

SMIF lenders received more than 500 applications when the program was announced, exceeding the funding that was made available. Information will be on the Minnesota DEED website if the legislature makes additional funds available for this program.

“These loan funds from the State of Minnesota are critical for helping businesses through this challenging time,” said Diane Lewis, lending officer at SMIF. “We are proud to be a partner in this effort to support southern Minnesota businesses.”