Business Relief Fund

Greater Bemidji “Hometown Business Relief Fund”

Greater Bemidji is pleased to announce that we have received an anonymous gift of $500,000 to support hometown Bemidji Businesses that have been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund will provide up to $20,000 for eligible businesses.


GUIDELINES: (Deadline at 5:00 pm May 15, 2020)

Eligible Businesses:

  • For-profit corporation, partnership, LLC, or sole proprietor that can demonstrate their business was directly and adversely affected by COVID-19 economic impact. The impact must be equivalent to at least a 50% reduction in sales.
  • Business must be locally-owned business (owner must live within the Bemidji School District).
  • Business must be operating within the Bemidji School District, and have a storefront or other physical location outside a home office.
  • Owners who have 20% or more interest in multiple businesses are only eligible for one loan.

Ineligible Businesses:

  • Those that qualify for traditional bank financing sufficient to meet their needs.
  • Businesses that do not meet the above criteria in “Eligible Businesses.”

Fund Priorities: The fund will give priority to business forced to shut down normal operations due to Governor Walz’s Executive Orders, including but not limited to:

  • Sit-down restaurants
  • Bars and pubs
  • Salons and spas
  • Fitness centers
  • Small retail businesses
  • Tourist-related small businesses

Funds can be used for:

  • Rent or mortgage payments, payroll for current employees, working capital and other operational costs. Funds cannot be used to pay or refinance past debt.

Terms of the Funding:

  • Up to 2% of sales with a maximum $20,000
  • 0% interest, fully forgivable if in business after five years. Loans would be forgiven at a rate of 20% per year the business if fully operational.
  • If the business is sold, conveyed, or closed within the first five years, the prorated balance of the loan will be due and payable. Businesses are expected to disclose a change in business status or ownership, or the entirety of the loan will be due and payable through the personal guarantee.
  • No payments for the first five years.
  • No origination fee will be charged.

How to Apply:

  1. Applicants must submit the following by 5:00 pm May 15, 2020:
    • A signed Application Form.
    • A signed one-page Eligibility Form.
    • Prepared 2019 financial statements or tax returns, if available. If not available, company prepared a profit-and-loss statement (income and expense statement) and balance sheet for 2019 (or since the business start if operating less than 12 months).
    • Applications, eligibility form and 2019 financial statement or tax return should be emailed to
  1. Businesses must:
    • Be able to demonstrate that it has been directly and adversely affected by COVID-19 economic impact.
    • Be current on financial obligations up to February 2020.
    • Provide complete application
      • Provide a personal guaranty for the loan amount.
      • Demonstrate the use of funds upon request of the lender.
  1. Loans cannot be provided to businesses:
    • That derives income from passive investments without operational ties to operating businesses.
    • That generates any part of its income from adult-oriented activities.
    • That primarily generates revenue from gambling activities.
    • That are non-profits or owned by a non-profit organization.
    • That have no current or historical financial statements.


Download and complete the Eligibility Information and Application Form and submit by 5:00 pm May 15, 2020:

Eligibility Information

Business Relief Application Form