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Loans available for Cloquet businesses in pandemic pain


May 22, 2020

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Local businesses are looking for hope for the future after being shutdown or having business traffic limited. A low interest loan from the city could help.

While many small and large businesses have tapped into government grant and loan programs offered in response to the shutdowns and economic downturns wrought by the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses are still hurting.

The Cloquet Economic Development Authority wants to help.

The Cloquet EDA unveiled a small business assistance program to provide small businesses within Cloquet city limits with COVID-19 relief in the form of low-interest loans. They're targeting local businesses with fewer than 30 employees that make $2 million or less in annual gross revenue. The EDA will offer up to a $20,000 loan at no interest or principal for six months and 2 percent after that for a term of up to five years.

Cloquet Community Development director Holly Hansen said the EDA board wanted to help businesses affected by the government-mandated shutdown in response to the pandemic.

"The EDA really wanted to be that fourth-in-line safety net," Hansen told the council, referring to federal, state and regional programs that have come before. We have some funds and wanted to make those available to businesses during this time."

The EDA is making a total of $300,000 in funds available for small, local for-profit businesses. The business cannot be homebased.

Additionally, applicants must demonstrate they have applied for federal and state leverage programs such as the Small Business Administration's Economic Injury Disaster Loan/grant, the federal Paycheck Protection Plan loan, and Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development resources in order to leverage this local program.

Applicants must demonstrate they are current on financial obligations as of March 1, 2020 (which includes property taxes and city utilities), be a conforming or legally conforming use under the current zoning ordinance of the city and not be in violation of the city's zoning code.

To find out more, contact Hansen at 218-879-2507, extension 4; watch a video at; or apply online at

The Entrepreneur Fund is administering the EDA loan program.

Editor's note: This is a longer version of the story that was published in the print edition, which was edited for space.


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