Businesses Saved and Jobs Protected: The State’s Small Business Bridge Loan Program Delivered for Utahns

Salt Lake City (Nov. XX, 2020)

Based on a new impact report conducted by the Sorenson Impact Center, in partnership with the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), the $12 million Utah Leads Together Small Business Bridge Loan Program helped 1,150 businesses and nonprofits across the state weather the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

In the second of a series of two impact reports, the Center analyzed the geographical reach and types of businesses that benefited from the program, how funding was used, and whether applicants secured other forms of financial support. Throughout this summer, the Center surveyed 358 businesses and nonprofits that benefited from the bridge loan program and identified the following:

  • 27% of loans were deployed to small businesses in rural counties (the goal was 25%) 

  • Most Utah businesses used the Bridge Loan to maintain their payroll (30%); pay their business rent, mortgage, or utilities (27%); and pay for other business operating costs.

  • Over 66% of businesses were able to keep or increase staff hours and avoid layoffs and furloughs.

  • Approximately 13% of the businesses receiving loans were owned by Black, Indigenous, or other people of color. It is estimated that BIPOC businesspeople own 7% of Utah businesses.

  • Approximately 33% of businesses receiving Bridge Loans were owned by women, which is on par with state averages.

  • While the U.S. Census reports approximately 5.4% of Utah’s residents have veteran status, 9% of business owners that received the Bridge Loan were veterans.

The survey conducted by the Center also identified areas where businesses and nonprofits need additional support to navigate ongoing instability. More than one-third of companies (35%) identified new business grants as being helpful, with 18% of respondents identifying flexible loans as being helpful moving forward. Respondents also identified long-term low-interest capital, loan forgiveness, and lending options to support capital improvements, such as upgrades to air filtration and sanitation systems, as helpful.

Geoff Davis, CEO of the Sorenson Impact Center, said: “We’re proud to partner with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development to measure the reach and impact of the Utah Leads Together Small Business Bridge Loan Program. This initiative is part of the Center’s broader work to support an equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

 

“Based on our analysis of the program’s success, we have to commend GOED for its commitment to fairness and equity in disbursing funds. They exceeded expectations on support for rural communities and had a clear commitment and focus on supporting businesses owned by Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, as well as women entrepreneurs and businesses owned by veterans. Targeted and purposeful interventions of this nature save jobs and businesses.”

“Thank you to the Sorenson Impact Center for the work they put into creating the second report for the Utah Leads Together Small Business Bridge Loan Program,” said Val Hale, GOED’s executive director. “The report shows that the program was able to help many businesses in need, and we’re grateful it was able to make an impact on so many.”

Media contact:

Grant Baskerville, Director, Sorenson Impact Center

grant.baskerville@sorensonimpact.com

801-910-1442

About the Sorenson Impact Center:

Sorenson Impact Center serves as a catalyst for solving social problems through the use of data, evidence, and innovation. Housed at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business, the Center works with public, nonprofit, and private sector stakeholders across the globe to develop and implement outcome-driven solutions to problems. Its 25-person staff includes experts in data science, finance, policy, investment, and storytelling. These professionals are augmented by the talents of 50 graduate and undergraduate students from diverse disciplines. Together, the Center works with clients to marshal capital for social good, empower data-driven programs, break down silos across sectors, and equip the next generation of leaders with social purpose.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Center has pivoted its work to support an equitable economic recovery from this crisis. This includes the launch of two new initiatives, Project DEEP and the Rural Opportunity Zone and Recovery Playbook.

 

Project DEEP is the first university-based, multi-pronged initiative to support women and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) as entrepreneurs, investors, and workforce leaders across the Intermountain West. The project is funded by the Sorenson Impact Foundation and U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA).

 

The Playbook is a Utah based partnership with the Utah Association of Counties (funded by the EDA and GOED) that seeks to drive impact-oriented and Opportunity Zone capital into the state’s rural communities to build resilient local economies.

About the Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development

Sorenson Impact Center serves as a catalyst for solving social problems through the use of data, evidence, and innovation. Housed at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business, the Center works with public, nonprofit, and private sector stakeholders across the globe to develop and implement outcome-driven solutions to problems. Its 25-person staff includes experts in data science, finance, policy, investment, and storytelling. These professionals are augmented by the talents of 50 graduate and undergraduate students from diverse disciplines. Together, the Center works with clients to marshal capital for social good, empower data-driven programs, break down silos across sectors, and equip the next generation of leaders with social purpose.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Center has pivoted its work to support an equitable economic recovery from this crisis. This includes the launch of two new initiatives, Project DEEP and the Rural Opportunity Zone and Recovery Playbook.

 

Project DEEP is the first university-based, multi-pronged initiative to support women and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) as entrepreneurs, investors, and workforce leaders across the Intermountain West. The project is funded by the Sorenson Impact Foundation and U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA).

 

The Playbook is a Utah based partnership with the Utah Association of Counties (funded by the EDA and GOED) that seeks to drive impact-oriented and Opportunity Zone capital into the state’s rural communities to build resilient local economies.

About The Utah Leads Together Small Business Bridge Loan Program

The Utah Leads Together Small Business Bridge Loan program was deployed to provide gap funding to Utah’s small businesses and nonprofit organizations during the initial onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. GOED administered the bridge loans in two rounds. The first round was for small businesses. The second round also included funding for nonprofits. 

 

This loan program was the first of its kind in the intermountain region (Utah, Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana). On March 20, 2020, the first public health restrictions were enacted. On March 31, 2020, the first round of the bridge loan was opened for business applications.

 

A total of $12 million was awarded to 1,150 Utah based small businesses and nonprofit organizations, which included $11 million in CARES Act funds and $1 million generously contributed by the WCF Insurance Foundation.

 

Loan amounts ranged from $5,000 to $20,000 and were offered 0% interest for up to 60 months. Loans were for businesses and nonprofits and could not exceed three months of demonstrated operating expenses. Loan payments are deferred for 12 months.

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