Eveleth, MN: Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation made $7 million in loan and grant funding available to area businesses and communities that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency’s board voted unanimously at its June 10 meeting to approve the two new programs as part of the FY21 budget.

Taconite Area Business Relief Loan Program:

Businesses located within the Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation service area are eligible to apply for 2% interest loans of up to $40,000 to be used as working capital or any legal purposes. No repayment on the loans will be due for the first six months, followed by 60 payments of principal and interest. Eligible businesses must have been in operation for at least one year and operating on March 1, 2020. Applicants must intend to re-open if currently closed due to the pandemic. It is anticipated that this program could assist approximately 200 local businesses.

“Our agency is committed to helping our region’s businesses navigate through the financial impacts of the public health crisis,” said Mark Phillips, Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation commissioner. “The Taconite Relief Loans are intended to supplement other state and federal relief programs as we move through the short- and long-term economic recovery phases.”

Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation funded the loan program at $5 million. The Entrepreneur Fund will administer the program. Click here to view the loan guidelines(PDF).

Taconite Area Community Relief Grant Program:

Cities, townships or tribal units of government located within the Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation service area are eligible to apply for a grant that serves as a lending program to businesses within that community. EDAs, HRAs, joint powers boards and community nonprofits are eligible to apply as a community’s fiscal agent. Grant applications will be competitively evaluated, and awards to communities could range from $50,000 to $400,000. Applications will be accepted June 11 through July 6, 2020.

“COVID-19 has created extraordinary challenges to businesses and communities in northeastern Minnesota. Their operations have been disrupted on a financial level, on a supply and demand level and on a workforce level due to the need for social distancing,” said Phillips. “The new community relief program enables businesses to work directly with their community to structure loans for small or larger amounts. Community lending programs help strengthen the business and neighborhood health within a designated municipality or tribal area.”

Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation funded the community grant program at $2 million. Click here to view the grant guidelines and eligibility criteria(PDF).