Small Business Assistance Program

*The application deadline for this program was February 28th.

The Office of Community Development, Disaster Recovery Unit (OCD-DRU) has worked with the Louisiana Department of Economic Development (LED) and other federal, state and local economic development partners to create the Restore Louisiana Small Business Program (RLSB) to provide assistance to small businesses located in areas adversely affected by the 2016 Severe Storms and Flooding Events.  OCD-DRU will provide program assistance to eligible businesses and/or non-profit organizations through participating non-profit lenders, who will implement and administer a lending program to assist impacted businesses and non-profits.

Total funding available for the program is $43 million in loans. This program is funded through the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Program (CDBG-DR) from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Do I Qualify?


Small businesses and nonprofit organizations that were operating at the time of the flood could qualify for technical assistance, along with an interest-free loan of up to $150,000 for eligible unmet needs. In addition, 40 percent of the loan amount is forgivable if terms are met, including 5-year repayment.

To qualify for a loan, businesses must meet several other criteria, including:

  • 1-50 full-time employees

  • Minimum $25,000 in annual gross revenues before the flood

  • Have an eligible unmet need after accounting for duplication of benefits

  • Experienced either a financial or physical loss as a result of one of the 2016 floods

The loans can be used for working capital ‒ rent, mortgage, utilities, non-owner employee wages and inventory, among others ‒ and movable equipment. However, construction-related expenses are not eligible.

The technical assistance portion of the program will be implemented by regional Small Business Development Centers. Eligible businesses will get help with business recovery and continuity plans, financial projecting and planning, and disaster preparedness planning. Small businesses who qualify for the assistance program will be referred to Small Business Development Centers for the technical assistance portion.

Program Resources:

Loan Application
Events and Locations
View Coverage Map

What is provided?

Community lenders will make partially forgivable loans to small businesses in the 51 flood-impacted parishes to provide working capital and funds to repair or replace movable equipment and machinery. Assistance for construction-related expenses is not available through this program.

The program will make loans between $10,000 and $150,000 to eligible businesses. If borrowers comply with program requirements, provide required documentation and make payments as agreed, the loan will be interest free and 40% of the loan will be forgiven when 60% of the principal is repaid.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible for loans under the program, an applicant business must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be either a for-profit business or a private non-profit organization located in one of the 51 parishes impacted by the 2016 Severe Storms and Flooding Events.

  • Must have been directly impacted by the storms/floods, with a documented physical or financial loss.

  • Non-profit organizations will be evaluated for eligibility and ability to service debt based on the secular operations of their organization.

  • Must have eligible unmet needs after accounting for all insurance, federal, state, local and private proceeds considered to be a duplication of benefit.

  • Must have been operating at the time of the respective storm or flood event. The applicant business must have been open before April 8 for the March 2016 floods and before August 31 for the August 2016 floods.

  • Must either a) be currently operating or b) demonstrate the ability to reopen upon receiving assistance from the program. Businesses that are closed at the time of application, but who will be able to reopen upon receiving assistance from the program must have a business plan and demonstrate they have the funding necessary to reopen. Closed businesses must commit to re-opening in an eligible parish; they are not required to re-open in the same location in which they were operating at the time of the flood.

  • Has a minimum of one full-time equivalent employee and no more than 50 full-time equivalent employees.

  • Had a pre-storm minimum annual gross revenue of $25,000.

  • Additionally, businesses must meet the following underwriting criteria, with exceptions considered on a case-by-case basis. Owners with greater than 20% ownership must have a minimum Beacon credit score of 600. Special considerations will be given to those with scores above 700. Global debt coverage ratio of 1.1x or greater. Global debt coverage ratio is a ratio that combines both personal and business income and expenses.

For more information, a list of lenders and to download an application, please click here. Lenders can assist with a timeline.