CSBDF's offices are currently closed, except by appointment, to comply with NC's public health guidelines. All staff can be reached by phone/email.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does the loan process take?

The length of the process varies based on the scope of application. You will receive feedback from our staff as to the status of your application within 15 days of receiving your completed application. Our staff is happy to assist you in preparing a complete loan application. Most delays occur due to incomplete loan applications. If your application is complete and the process is not held up for missing documents, the processing time is between 30-45 days from receipt of application to loan closing.

What if I have challenging credit?

Your credit score is not the sole requirement of an approved or denied application but the content within the report should reflect good personal financial management. If unfavorable items are reported, we’ll will consider the circumstances impacting repayment ability such as medical emergencies or divorce. Repaired and rebuilt credit can be acceptable. We look favorably on efforts to rectify past credit issues.

If you have credit issues, you should write a detailed personal statement explaining circumstances and action taken. Please submit that statement with your loan application as an attachment.

What collateral do I need?

Appropriate collateral depends on many factors, especially the size of your loan request. We will require a personal guarantee and a pledge on business assets as collateral. It is common to also pledge personal assets.

Examples of collateral include: home or property, vehicles, equipment, inventory, and accounts receivable.

What can I use the money for?

Loans may be used for the following purposes:

Loan funds cannot be used for:
What does it take to get a loan?

In general, a successful loan package includes a good business idea and plan and strong business management skills. When considering a loan application, we use the “5 C’s of Credit” as a rule of thumb.

The strengths and weaknesses of each “C” are weighed.

What is a business plan?

A business plan is the “roadmap” for your business. A good business plan is your best business management tool and is also required to apply for a loan. There are many local resources and websites that discuss business plans. See our Tools and Templates page for more information.

What if I need more money than Carolina Small Business can lend?

We often work with banks and other community lenders. We can “participate” in multiparty financing. If your needs are greater than $250,000, Carolina Small Business may consider a lending partner to assist with your loan project needs.

What kinds of businesses has Carolina Small Business helped?

We help both startups and existing businesses in both rural and urban regions. Typical businesses are for-profit businesses employing one or more individuals.

What kinds of businesses are not eligible for a loan?

Businesses that tend to lower the real estate value of a community (e.g., liquor stores, “hard” bars, gaming, etc.)

What are the Terms, Interest Rates, and Fees?

Loan terms vary according to:

Our average interest rates range between 8% and 12%. There are loan fees involved with transactions including: an origination fee, loan documentation preparation fee, and other fees related to perfecting our interest in the provided capital.

Research Program

Our work is shaped by evidence-based and apolitical research highlighting why small businesses are the foundation of economic development.

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Financial Information

In the spirit of transparency, we publish financial statements, tax information, and our organization's annual report. We hope this information enables donors, policymakers, and the general public to have a better understanding of our work.

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