NEW YORK (PIX11) — The past three years have been rough for small businesses, with some in New York City forced to close for good. 

Those that remain continue to struggle with high costs. The city is hoping to help with a first-of-its-kind NYC Small Business Opportunity Fund. The largest public-private loan fund will be doling out $75 million to approximately 1,500 local businesses.

Bronx Chamber of Commerce President Lisa Sorin explained some of the challenges businesses face.

“Electric bills are due. Inventory is hard. So, to be able to stay afloat you need money,” Sorin said. 

The loans are designed to help. They can go up to $250,000 at an interest rate of 4 percent, which is considerably below current market rates. There is no minimum credit score required or application fees.

The loans are  available for startups and existing businesses, which must have less than $5 million in annual revenue. It’s an effort by the city to reach smaller companies and address inequities in its last roll out of pandemic assistance.

“It’s designed for communities that have not received funding in the past. There are so many businesses recovering and this is a step there,” Councilmember Marjorie Velázquez said.

The de Blasio administration received criticism for its lack of outreach in communities of color where many small business owners were unaware of the available funds or how to properly apply for them. That is something the Adams administration says it’s trying to avoid this time.  

“We know that there are communities that have language barriers as well. We went out equipped with people that spoke Spanish, mandarin and other languages with materials in other languages,” said NYC Small Business Services Commissioner Kevin Kim.

The Bronx only got about 2 percent of emergency COVID small business grants, according to an audit by the city’s comptroller’s office. The Bronx Chamber of Commerce President says that shouldn’t happen again. 

For more information about the program you can  call the SBS hotline at 888-SBS-4NYC (888-727-4692) or visit their website.