Financial Assistance Being Offered for Small Business Owners Affected by the Natural Gas Outage
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE BEING OFFERED FOR SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS AFFECTED BY THE NATURAL GAS OUTAGE
NEWPORT, RI – With gas service restored to the vast majority of customers in Newport and Middletown, help is now being made available to Newport’s small business community through a pair of financial assistance programs offered by the State Commerce Corporation and National Grid.
Taken together, the two programs will provide roughly $2 million in assistance to businesses affected by the recent gas outage.
Business owners are highly encouraged to apply, and customer service associates from both Commerce RI and National Grid will be on site throughout the week at the Gateway Visitor’s Center from 9 a.m – 4 p.m. to answer questions and help expedite the application process.
Additionally, please note that an informational meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 29th from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. at the Newport Marriott in the Freedom Room located on the Third Floor. Free parking is available at the Gateway Visitor’s Center, and all are encouraged to attend.
More information about the individual aid programs follows below.
COMMERCE CORPORATION EMERGENCY LOAN FUND
On Monday, Jan. 28th, Governor Gina Raimondo joined Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor, members of Rhode Island's philanthropic and business community and the Newport County Chamber of Commerce to announce a $1.45 million emergency loan fund for businesses directly impacted by the recent events related to the gas shut off on Aquidneck Island.
The fund will offer emergency loans of up to $25,000 to eligible businesses with no payments and no interest for the first six months. Credible insurance claims and/or claims in accordance with National Grid's business reimbursement policies for affected businesses will be required as collateral for these emergency loans. The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, through its Small Business Loan Fund, is committing up to $1 million in loans to the program, with another $200,000 committed by the Rhode Island Foundation, and $250,000 by BankNewport.
Loan relief loan fund details
WHO QUALIFIES: Any business on Aquidneck Island that has been impacted by the recent gas incident is eligible to apply and may qualify for the funds. Credible insurance claims and/or claims in accordance with National Grid's business reimbursement policies for affected businesses will be required as collateral for these emergency loans.
TERMS/RATES: this fund is being offered with no payments and no interest for the first 6 months. For businesses that extend beyond a 6-month period, a 4% rate will apply. Businesses can apply for up to $25,000 with no minimum.
EXPEDITED APPLICATION PROCESS: The fund is designed to enable expedited application and approval, with the goal of getting applications processed within two business days whenever possible.
HOW TO APPLY: Rhode Island Commerce Corporation staff will be onsite at the Newport Visitor's Center beginning Tuesday to meet with businesses and process loans. Business can also call the Corporation's Small Business Hotline at (401) 521-HELP.
Anyone interested in learning more about the program is encouraged to join the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation and the Newport County Chamber of Commerce for an information session for gas outage-affected businesses on Tuesday, January 29, from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. at the Newport Marriott. Free parking is available at the Gateway Visitor’s Center, and all are encouraged to attend.
This meeting will provide businesses with information about emergency loan funding, unemployment insurance, access to capital, claims processes, and other programs and resources. Representatives from the Newport County Chamber of Commerce, RI Commerce Corporation, Department of Labor and Training, National Grid and RI CAP will be present to speak with businesses
Applications for the fund will open Tuesday, January 29, with loans processed within two businesses days whenever possible.
NATIONAL GRID RELIEF PACKAGE
In addition to the aid package from Commerce Rhode Island, National Grid has also committed to establishing a $500,000 fund that will issue need-based grants in partnership with Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Rhode Island.
Details of the grant program, which will provide immediate assistance to small businesses that have been impacted by this event, will be announced in the coming days through LISC’s website, www.rilisc.com.
National Grid will continue to have a presence in the community in the coming days, providing customers with assistance and information until 5 p.m. on Monday at Gurney’s Newport Resort; the Middleton Police Station; and through five community assistance vans stationed at Easton’s Beach, King Park, Newport Visitor’s Center, Braga Memorial Park, and one roaming van.
Beginning Tuesday, two customer information centers will be available for the rest of the week at the Newport Visitors Center on America’s Cup Avenue in Newport and at the Middletown Police Station at 123 Valley Road in Middletown.