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Syracuse Opens 3 Small Business Lending Programs, With Focus On New Businesses

Scott Willis
Co-owners of Southside Fitness Centers Kaiya and Tim Edwards (right) stand with Deputy Commissioner of Business Development Eric Ennis (middle), Mayor Ben Walsh (left), and Common Council President Helen Hudson (behind) at the announcement of the new lending programs.

Small businesses in Syracuse still struggling to recover from the pandemic might be able to get some relief through any of three lending programs being offered by the city. The one million dollar pot of American Rescue Plan Act money is the city’s largest pandemic relief program for small businesses.

Southside Fitness Center in the Valley Plaza previously benefitted, and used the funds for sanitizing stations and better air filtration. But co-owner Kaiya Edwards says they could still use some help.

“The pandemic has effected the gym in more ways than you can think. We’ve lost over half of our members. So really now we’re trying to rebuild.”

As a business with less than 10 employees, the fitness center would be eligible for a forgivable micro-enterprise loan of up to five thousand dollars. They could also apply for low-interest loan of up to $25,000, or up to $200,000 for renovation or real estate improvements. The latter might be in the cards for co-owner Tim Edwards.

“I need to expand and get a bigger spot inside this plaza, so maybe I was looking at some, you know, money to develop that,” said Edwards.

Deputy commissioner of business development Eric Ennis says the loan programs are open to those who received past assistance, but they’re especially targeting newer businesses.

“We’ve expanded this to include new businesses that may have started after the pandemic began. Previous programs, such as the Payment Protection Program or other federal and state level initiatives, they were incredibly, incredibly helpful. However, there were businesses that were unable to access those resources."

The city has translated application documents into Spanish and posted a tutorial video in an effort to reach as many businesses as possible. All information is on the Syracuse Economic Development Corporation’s website. The application deadline is Friday, December 31st.