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Dubuque Initiatives Launches $2 Million Emergency Bridge Loan Program to Help Dubuque Businesses Impacted by COVID-19


DUBUQUE, IOWA (KWWL) -- A local nonprofit is stepping up to further assist local businesses impacted by COVID-19 while they wait for State and Federal relief.

Dubuque Initiatives is partnering with the East Central Intergovernmental Association (ECIA) and the COVID-19 Business Helpline to implement the Dubuque Initiatives Emergency Bridge Loan Program.

The program will authorize the use of $2 million of Dubuque Initiatives’ funds to provide bridge financing that employers can use until pending State and Federal financing support is made available to them.

Completed applications would be processed within 48 hours, providing our local employers critical funding to weather the storm.

Loans would be a maximum of $10,000 and no interest or fees would be charged to the applicant for 60 days.

Upon receipt of State or Federal assistance, the applicant will repay the loan back to Dubuque Initiatives.

If a business applies but does not receive State or Federal assistance, the bridge loan will be converted to a three-year, ultra-low-interest loan.

Applicant Requirements:

  • Employ 2-50 employees (One person equals one employee, regardless of hours worked— including the owner and other employees on payroll)
  • Have a physical location or storefront within the City of Dubuque
  • Are qualified for assistance through the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL); or had qualified for the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Iowa Small Business Relief Fund
  • Ineligible applicants: Businesses that are independent contractors or other self-employed individuals, non-profits, franchises, or chains.

The program will open for application on Tuesday, April 14th at 8:30 a.m. To apply:

  • Call the COVID-19 Business Helpline at (563) 588-3350 between 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, or email at
  • Helpline experts will review available local, state and federal assistance programs, including the Dubuque Initiatives Emergency Bridge Loan Program, and what information applicants will need to have prepared:
    • Applicants will need to provide one of the following:
      • Copy of application to the Iowa Small Business Relief Fund;
      • Copy of application to Small Business Administration for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan;
      • Copy of application to the Small Business Administration for assistance from the Payroll Protection Program.
  • If prospective applicants for the DI Emergency Bridge Loan have not yet completed a state or federal application, Helpline staff will advise them in those applications.
  • Once application is complete, processing and disbursement of funds is expected to take place in 48 hours.

The COVID-19 Business Helpline is made possible through a joint partnership established between Northeast Iowa Community College, Greater Dubuque Development Corporation, The Small Business Development Center, and the East Central Iowa Intergovernmental Association.

Any business owner can contact the Helpline to ask questions related to the COVID-19 pandemic regarding federal, state and local funding, unemployment insurance, and compliance with new legislation and best practices.

Dubuque Initiatives, Inc. is a sustainable, non-profit organization, working as a community partner and catalyst, to undertake challenging projects involving job creation and/or community revitalization that supports a viable, livable and equitable community.

Chelsie Nelson

content producer

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