COVID-19 Small Business Bridge Loan Program

Due to an overwhelming response, new applications are no longer being accepted for the COVID-19 Small Business Bridge Loan Program. Applications that have already been submitted are currently being reviewed.

Small Business Bridge Loan Program

(Funding source: $400,000 from existing Neighborhood Reinvestment Fund Small Business Loan Program; $500,000 from Industrial Development Board Economic Development Lease Payments Fund)

$900,000 of the CHA 90-Day Stabilization Fund will create a competitive small business bridge loan initiative that will be used to provide relief to small businesses. Loan amounts will be determined with the assistance and administration of the Southeast Tennessee Development District.

Preferred deadline to apply by: June 30, 2020

Amount: up to $25,000

Uses: Funds can be used as working capital. A business may receive a single COVID-19 Bridge Loan award. 

*Priority will be shown to businesses directly impacted by Mayor Berke’s Executive Orders, including restaurants, fitness centers, barbershops, hair salons, tanning salons, childcare centers, eyelash salons, tattoo shops, body piercing shops, day spas, retail stores, entertainment & recreation facilities, indoor rock climbing, craft/art businesses, theaters, concert venues, etc.) As these funds are limited, submission of an application does not guarantee funding.


  • Must have employed 1-50 employees or workers (full time or part time) as of Feb. 1, 2020.
  • Must be located with the Chattanooga city limits. 
  • Must be located in an office/commercial space. (Exception: Small businesses that are primarily engaged in childcare or senior care services are allowed to be located within homes.) 
  • Business must have been located in a commercial space for at least one year.
  • Applicants may be encouraged to apply for additional funding via federal and state programs.
  • Loans available to for-profit businesses only.
  • Loans will not be available to businesses that are franchised.
  • Loans will not be available to businesses that are affiliated with national or regional brands.


Must be able to demonstrate that government executive orders and/or federal, state, or local government laws, directives, recommendations, mandates, or policies related to preventing the spread of COVID-2019 aka Coronavirus, clearly discouraged, prevented, outlawed, or disrupted the business’ normal operations. 

Examples of Documentation for a Completed Application:

  • Certificate of Existence from the State of Tennessee (if available and applicable)
  • Business license from Hamilton County
  • Business license from the City of Chattanooga
  • A written statement with a description of how the business was adversely impacted by public policies regarding Coronavirus prevention. Must be signed and dated by business owner, manager, or designee.
  • A written description of how the funds will be used. 
  • Priority will be given to applicants that can show a plan to use the funding to hire or retain workers.
  • Any associated loan documents required by Southeast Tennessee Development District.
  • Businesses must not be involved in any pending or current litigation.
  • Businesses must be operating with all required permits and licenses and in accordance with all applicable laws.

Loan Terms:

  • Zero percent (0%) interest for the entire loan term.  
  • No payment required for the first twelve (12) months. 
  • No balloon payment at the end of the initial twelve (12) month period.
  • Additional loan terms may vary.