Small businesses in North Carolina needing financing to recover from Hurricane Matthew can apply for funds through a $15 million program of the state Department of Commerce and nonprofit lenders.

It’s been a year since Hurricane Matthew hit North Carolina, but its impact is still evident. “Small business owners lost storefronts, equipment, furniture and revenue, and many aren’t yet able to reopen,” Gov. Roy Cooper said. “Small business owners can use these funds to fix damage, replace equipment, and get their business up and running again.”

The governor’s disaster recovery office and state Commerce awarded $7.5 million to support the new recovery assistance program, which recently launched a website. Private lenders are matching those funds to provide at least $15 million in loans available to small businesses in Matthew-affected areas, especially in Robeson, Cumberland, Edgecombe and Wayne counties.

Small-business counselors with the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC) are taking inquiries from businesses interested in the program. For more information or referral to a participating lender, call 800-228-8443 to speak with a counselor in the EDPNC’s Business Link North Carolina division. Let the counselor know that you are calling about the Small Business Disaster Recovery Assistance Program, and you will be referred to the lender that best fits your needs.

Program funds can be used to make repairs and property improvements; buy and install equipment, furniture and fixtures; cover working capital or pay for marketing, operating costs and inventory; or relocate displaced individuals if a small business must move into a residence.

The following lending institutions are providing small business loans through the program, and businesses can contact these representatives below directly:

Carolina Small Business Development Fund, Roxanne Bailey-Reed, 919-903-1437, ext. 403, rreed@carolinasmallbusiness.org, or Greg Taylor, 910-759-7709, ext. 401, gtaylor@carolinasmallbusiness.org

Center for Community Self Help, Jessie Maxwell, 919-956-4684, Jessie.maxwell@self-help.org

North Carolina Community Development Initiative Inc., Tara Campbell, 919-835-6002, tcampbell@ncinitiative.org

For inquiries about the program and a referral to a participating lender, contact Business Link North Carolina at the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina by calling 800-228-8443. More information is available on the lending program’s website.