Columbia announces emergency loan fund for Harlem businesses


Columbia University Press Release:

June 9, 2020


The initiatives will support small businesses in Upper Manhattan with loans ranging from $ 500 to $ 50,000; funding will be administered by Columbia University

NEW YORK – Columbia University today announced the creation of the Columbia Emergency Loan Fund for Small Businesses, a relief program that will disperse working capital to help local small businesses struggling with the coronavirus pandemic as New York enters phase I of reopening.

The Fund will support small businesses, north of 96th Street, as they resupply, rehire and reconfigure, so they can continue and / or resume their operations while adhering to mandatory health protocols (e.g. , social distancing). The Columbia-Harlem Small Business Development Center (CH SBDC), housed at Columbia Business School, will help clients prepare for their loan application. CH SBDC has provided technical assistance to thousands of local community businesses since 2009, and is now helping many of those businesses survive the pandemic, including assistance in seeking federal small business relief.

Small businesses are the economic lifeblood of the United States and New York City. Recent statistics indicate that 40 percent of small businesses in New York City, employing nearly 3 million workers, may not leave nearly 1.5 million people out of work.

CH SBDC provides one-on-one advice with business advisors and technical support through workshops and programs modeling many of the offerings of the University’s top-ranked MBA program at no cost. Programs offered include the Harlem Local Vendors Program, Pitch Workshop Series & Competition, Columbia Community Business Program (CCBP), and Brand Story Workshop & Series Competition. The most recent program, Business Model Pivot, is designed to teach business owners how to create innovative revenue models and cost structures for new business development projects in organizations that have been affected by Covid-19.

“These local restaurants and vendors are our neighbors,” said Lee C. Bollinger, president of Columbia University. “We wouldn’t be a community without them, and we hope this effort will help as many as possible survive the devastating economic blow from the pandemic. ”

Two types of loan programs are available, each designed to meet the specific needs of an individual business with loans ranging from $ 500 to $ 50,000. Both programs offer low interest rates and a grace period. Columbia Business School will administer and review applications while Columbia University makes final decisions and distributes loan funds to selected applicants. CH SBDC will liaise with selected loan recipients to provide technical support.

For more information on the loan program and technical assistance available, please visit the Columbia-Harlem Small Business Development Center website at

This press release was produced by Columbia University. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.


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