More than P3 billion worth of government loans are still available for small businesses looking to restart or help along their operations during the pandemic via www.bayanihancares.ph.
The loans are part of the Bayanihan COVID-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (Bayanihan CARES) program which allotted a total of P8.08 billion for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME), cooperatives, hospitals, tourism business, and repatriated or displaced OFWs affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Small Business Corporation (SBCorp), an agency under the Department of Trade and Industry and the CARES program implementer, has approved 31,700 MSME loan applications over the course of the pandemic, corresponding to a total loan amount of P4.84 billion.
Loans range from P10,000 to a maximum of P5 million, depending on their pre-pandemic sales and business assets figures, if applicable. The loans are interest- and collateral-free but have an up-front service fee set at a maximum of 8% for a maximum four-year loan term. Shorter loan terms have lower service fees.
SBCorp's decision to make the loans accessible online was necessitated by the pandemic.
"We had to strategize how to design, develop and fund the IT application systems and IT connectivity that we needed to put in place. The challenge was heightened by the need to limit most of our meetings to online venues, instead of the usual face-to-face environment which allows for more interactive brainstorming. And we had limited IT equipment in the beginning relative to the emerging scale of digitization required," said SBCorp president and chief executive officer Luna Cacanando.
Last year when the pandemic began, SBCorp "went through a deep rethinking on how to safely provide quick financing response to affected small businesses which we knew will increase in great numbers as the pandemic crisis is prolonged," Cacanando said.