Businesses affected by coronavirus can now apply for an emergency loan of up to £30,000 from Inverclyde Council.
Councillors approved the new scheme for local firms that are unable to access government support packages that are already in place.
The council already provides grants of up to £10,000 and loans of up to £5,000 to help struggling businesses, as well as several other financial assistance schemes.
It has now been agreed that a loan of up to £30,000 is made available for firms that meet the eligibility criteria, to be repaid over two years.
Businesses can apply for the funding package until 30 June 2021.
The council is using £200,000 ring-fenced with an external provider for loan purposes to ensure no strain on council budgets.
Councillor Stephen McCabe, leader of Inverclyde Council, said: “We understand that many local businesses have been severely impacted by the coronavirus shut down and that some may not be eligible for certain government support.
“That’s why we’re stepping in to try and ensure none slip through the cracks and to ease the financial hardship by offering a very low-interest rate loan of up to £30,000 for organisations that meet the eligibility criteria.
“As a council, we’re doing all we can to support businesses and the Inverclyde economy to recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our business support and development teams remain on hand to help businesses, those who are self-employed and third sector organisations access the vital help they so desperately need during these challenging times.”
Inverclyde Chamber President, Gavin McDonagh said:
“This loan scheme is a further helpful lifeline for local businesses at a time which is most critical for the vast majority.
“We’ve seen through Inverclyde Chambers surveys throughout the pandemic just how hard businesses have been hit locally as a result of Covid-19, particularly through cashflow and so we would hope this fund can help sustain businesses as we all work towards making an economic recovery.”
The interest rate is set as low as the council is allowed to.
The scheme is aimed at businesses affected by the coronavirus that find themselves unable to access specific government financial support schemes because of either documentary evidence not being available or in the format required to achieve eligibility.
It was also agreed that Councillor McCabe will write to the Scottish Government seeking support for individuals not covered by current business support measures.
To find out more about the scheme, how to apply and other business support on offer click here.