NC Rural Center partners with SBA to streamline post-storm loans

Business owners are receiving on-the-ground financial aid and advice in collaboration with federal loan officers, as many local banks’ doors are still closed.

Small Business Administration administrator Linda McMahon, left, and President Donald Trump listen to a reporters question during a meeting of the President's National Council of the American Worker in the days following Hurricane Florence.

The N.C. Rural Center, along with the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC),  is one of several leading statewide industry-support organizations that have banded together to take calls and provide assistance to small- to mid-size businesses needing immediate help in recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Florence.

Collaboration is critical to providing a more streamlined and efficient recovery response to help businesses and communities get up and running, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), a federal partner in this recovery effort.

“The U.S. Small Business Administration is strongly committed to providing North Carolina residents with the most effective response possible to assist businesses, homeowners and renters with federal disaster loans,” SBA Administrator Linda McMahon said.

The SBA, operating out of the N.C. Rural Center in Raleigh, is deploying its reservists to affected areas to help accept SBA loan applications.

Businesses may face months, or even years, of financial and physical setbacks in the aftermath of Florence. Beyond immediate physical damage, they may have to navigate lost revenues, staff shortages, road closures and economic downturns within their local communities.

Just launched this year, the N.C. Rural Center non-profit subsidiary Thread Capital was created to support the state’s entrepreneurs with business coaching and loans of up to $50,000. In the days following Hurricane Florence, Thread Capital announced that it was activating the Hurricane Florence Rapid Recovery Loan program to assist North Carolina businesses affected by the storm.

“I have had to eat nearly 50 percent of the costs of running my business since the storm hit,” said Ryan Gibbs, owner of Gibbs Management Services in Wilmington, North Carolina. His small business contracts with local municipalities and nonprofits to provide meals for their local Meals On Wheels programs.

“In order to continue to serve those in need, I needed access to cash flow quickly,” Gibbs said. So Gibbs turned to the N.C. Rural Center and its Thread Capital subsidiary, which is offering zero-interest expedited loans to support businesses as they await SBA disaster-recovery loans or insurance payouts.

“Since many local businesses are still closed, including my local bank, I quickly ran through much of my business’s credit,” Gibbs said. “Within minutes of contacting Thread Capital, I was already in touch with someone who helped me through the loan process.”

Partners in the response offer services including help with developing post-storm recovery strategies, access to short-term capital to support immediate cleanup costs and cover lost revenue, and longer-term programs to repair physical damage and recover from more significant economic losses.

For more information, visit: and