ECP Gap Fund FAQ and Support

The ECP Gap Fund FAQ is a resource to answer your questions about the Energize Community Program Gap Fund Loan. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please contact us at [email protected].

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GENERAL

What is the the Energize Community Program?

The Energize Community Program (ECP) prepares small business owners to successfully apply for loan capital. ECP includes funding readiness workshops, low-interest Gap Fund loans up to $20k, and an accelerator program valued at $1,200. This round of Gap Fund loans is available to small businesses across 4 communities: Pueblo, Southwest Denver, East Colfax, and the Child Care Industry.

How does this work?

In 2020, we raised $5.7 million from private donors to distribute through low-interest loans.

Distribution of funds will follow guidelines and allocations established by the Executive Committee.

Our Executive Committee is a diverse group of members experienced in lending and community development, as well as leaders representing the communities we aim to serve.

Funds will be distributed across four priority groups (East Colfax, Southwest Denver, Pueblo, and the child care industry). The goal is to address the critical needs of micro and small businesses within these underserved communities.

Our Executive Committee will monitor how these loans are used and address special needs.

What is the cutoff date for applications?

The application is open June 28-August 21. Applications will close on Sunday, August 21st at 11:59 p.m. If you sign up for our newsletter here and submit your interest here, you will be notified as soon as the loan application is announced.

If I have previously received financial support from Energize Colorado, am I eligible to apply?

If you have previously received loans from Energize Colorado, you are not eligible for this. However, if you received a grant from Energize Colorado, you may qualify.

Can I use my phone to apply?

Yes, the application process is mobile-enabled. Documents can be photographed and attached to the application.

Is the Gap Fund first come first serve?

No, we will not assign loans in the order applications come in.  Applications will be reviewed together in phases to ensure they meet all Gap Fund requirements and eligibility.  We would prefer an applicant to spend adequate time on their application rather than rush. We advise that applicants connect with a business advisor to ensure all financial documents are in order prior to submitting their application.

I started my business during COVID, am I eligible?

Businesses must be in operation for 2 years to be eligible.

If approved, when will the funds be available?

It is our desire to move the funds as quickly as possible. We anticipate that the funds will be disbursed in July.

How does the distribution of funds work? 

Distribution of funds will follow guidelines and allocations established by the Gap Fund’s Executive Committee.  Our Executive Committee is a diverse group of members experienced in lending and community development, as well as leaders representing the communities we aim to serve.

ELIGIBILITY

Who is eligible to apply?

Small businesses/enterprises – Registered small businesses in good standing with the state. You must be located in one of these areas to participate or be a child care provider (home based or center based).

Small businesses must have fewer than 25 employees. An employer may use its off-season employee count.

If you apply as a sole proprietor, we will ask you to switch to an LLC structure before receiving funds. 

The Cannabis Industry is not eligible but what about the Hemp Industry?

Businesses that grow, distribute, or sell Cannabis are not eligible per federal requirements of this program. Hemp businesses will be allowed as long as they meet federal and state guidelines.

Please see the following document for further clarification: https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/2019-02/SOP%2050%2010%205%28K%29%20FINAL%202.15.19%20SECURED%20copy%20paste.pdf

Are farmers/farms eligible?

Yes.

I don’t have a way to scan or upload documents? What do I do?

Required documents can be photographed and attached to your application.

If you believe you will need additional assistance, you can connect with a business advisor here, and we will assign an advisor who can work with you to fill out the application with you.

Will it count against me if I apply for the Gap Fund again?

No. If you have received a loan previously, that will be taken into consideration.

What if I can’t find my EIN/TIN?

If you previously applied for and received an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your business, but have since misplaced it, try any or all of the following actions to locate the number:

Find the computer-generated notice that was issued by the IRS when you applied for your EIN. This notice is issued as a confirmation of your application for, and receipt of an EIN.

If you used your EIN to open a bank account or apply for any type of state or local license, you should contact the bank or agency to secure your EIN.

Find a previously filed tax return for your existing entity (if you have filed a return) for which you have your lost or misplaced EIN. Your previously filed return should be notated with your EIN.

Ask the IRS to search for your EIN by calling the Business & Specialty Tax Line at 800-829-4933. The hours of operation are 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. local time, Monday through Friday. An assistant will ask you for identifying information and provide the number to you over the telephone, as long as you are a person who is authorized to receive it. Examples of an authorized person include, but are not limited to, a sole proprietor, a partner in a partnership, a corporate officer, a trustee of a trust, or an executor of an estate.

Can I apply if I am an immigrant? What documentation do I need to provide?

An individual (i.e. a sole proprietor of a business) will need to provide one of the following:

  • Valid Colorado driver’s license or a Colorado identification card issued by the Colorado Department of Revenue.
  • Valid US passport
  • US Military Identification card OR Military Dependent’s Military ID card
  • United States Coast Guard Merchant Mariner card
  • Native American Tribal Identification Document
  • Valid Foreign Passport with Photo AND valid US Visa AND I‐94
  • Certificate of Citizenship with photo (less than 20 years old)
  • Valid Employee Authorization Document/Temporary Resident
  • Refugee/Asylee I‐94 with photo
  • Valid I‐551 permanent resident card

Are only Colorado small businesses eligible?

Yes, only domestic entities formed under Colorado law are eligible. A Colorado domestic entity is a business registered, and in good standing, with the Colorado Secretary of State. Foreign entities that have filed with the Colorado Secretary of State to conduct business in Colorado are not eligible, for example, a business formed under Delaware law is not eligible.

Are cooperatives eligible to apply? 

Yes. Any domestic entity type that is a nonprofit corporation is eligible.

FINANCIAL

Is this a grant or a loan program?

This is a loan program.

What is the difference between a grant and a loan?

Grant money provided to an eligible small business is not required to be repaid. A loan has an assigned interest rate and must be repaid over a defined period of time.

If I apply, am I guaranteed a grant or a loan?

No, the Gap Fund is not a first-come, first-serve program. It is a competitive program. Each application will be thoroughly evaluated and approved if applicants meet the criteria. While we hope to help as many people as possible, these funds will eventually run out and all applicants are not guaranteed a loan.

What will the loan payments be like?

For loans equal to or lesser then $20,000 your payment term is 36 months. The interest rate is a flat 2.5% during the duration of the loan.

What are the terms of the loan? Anticipated loan terms?

  • Principal amount: up to $20,000
  • The maturity rate is 36 months for loans up to or equal to $20,000.
  • The interest rate is: 2.5% throughout the duration of the term.

Are there limits on what I can spend my loan on?

Yes, loans may be spent on items agreed to in your application and closing documents.

Examples of allowable expenses include:

  • Debt consolidation
  • Payroll costs
    • Increased workers compensation cost due to COVID-19 pandemic
    • Premium Pay
    • Hazardous duty, physical hardship in case related to COVID-19 pandemic
    • Overtime related to COVID-19 pandemic
    • Employee stipend if deemed necessary due to COVID-19 emergency provided on a reimbursement basis
  • Capital Improvements
  • Rent/Lease
  • Utilities
  • Working Capital
  • Equipment
  • Inventory

How will I receive the funds if awarded?

ACH or Paper Check, depending on your choice. 

If I receive a loan, are there any prepayment penalties?

No, there are no prepayment penalties with Gap Fund loans.

Will Energize Colorado pull my credit? Are there credit requirements?

Yes, we will pull an applicant’s credit, however, there is no minimum credit score.

What is the maximum amount I can request from the Gap Fund?

You can request a maximum of $20k from the ECP Gap Fund.

Are Gap Fund loans considered taxable income?

Gap Fund loans are not considered taxable income.

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