north carolina

North Carolina Small Business Loans - Availability Options - Loan or Grant

North Carolina's business community includes more than 900,000 small businesses. These firms employ around 1.7 million people across the state and, in 2017, approximately 163,000 loans of under $100,000—valued at $2.7 billion—were issued by state lending institutions.

At a glance North Carolina is considered to be one of the best states to get a business loan or grant. Some business owners need loans to help them save a struggling company from bankruptcy, while others may use the proceeds to grow their businesses. Before taking out a loan—or accepting a grant, you'll need to know how much your enterprise will need and how you will use your finances. 

Top Five North Carolina Small Business Loan Options

Truist Bank

Truist bank, which is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, is one of the largest banks in North Carolina, with branches in numerous cities. In addition to business checking and savings accounts, they offer multiple borrowing options, including small business and startup loans, lines of credit, SBA loans, and business credit cards.

You can learn more about opening an account and the services provided by calling Truist's toll-free number or visiting a local branch.

Small Business Administration (SBA)

Loans guaranteed by the SBA extend from $500 to $5.5 million and can be used for most business purposes, including long-term fixed assets and operating capital. Some loans have limitations on how you can use the funds, so ask an SBA-approved lender when applying for loans. Your lender will be able to match you with the right loan for your business needs.

SBA also offers grants as well as consultations and counseling services. There are also options to apply for federal government contracts through the SBA and paths for assistance in the wake of natural disasters.

SBA also offers the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program to all qualifying small businesses and nonprofits experiencing economic effects due to COVID-19. These loans can cover inventory and payroll, pay a debt, or fund other expenses.

U.S. SBA North Carolina District Office

Carolina Small Business Development Fund (CSBDF)

Carolina Small Business, situated in Raleigh, is a statewide nonprofit and Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). They lend to startups and existing businesses across the state, with priority given to companies with difficulty accessing financing through conventional lending sources.

They offer term loans and lines of credit up to $250,000 for all types of businesses in a wide range of industries. Their rates are typically between 8% and 12%, and they also do microloans of up to $50,000. Their loan terms are between five and seven years, and a requirement is that there must be at least 10% equity.

Learn more here.

Self-Help Credit Union

Self-Help is a body made up of two credit unions; an advocacy group and a nonprofit loan fund. Self-Help is a community development financial institution that provides opportunities to disadvantaged communities.

Self-Help Credit Union offers financial services, which include savings and checking accounts to North Carolina residents. The union also provides funding options for small businesses, child care centers, nonprofits, and faith-based organizations.

Through Self-Help, loan options include small business loans up to $250,000, commercial loans for $250,000 and up, SBA 504 loans, commercial real estate loans, and small business recovery loans. You need to be a member of Self-Help to apply for any of these loan programs. 

Truliant Federal Credit Union

Founded in 1952, Truliant Federal Credit Union has expanded to serve over 200,000 members throughout North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. Truliant branches are located throughout North Carolina in cities, including Charlotte, Greensboro, Asheboro, and Winston-Salem.

In addition to offering business checking and savings accounts for its members, Truliant is a preferred SBA lender. You can apply for term loans or lines of credit up to $350,000 (SBA Express), term loans up to $5,000,000 (SBA 7(a)), or term loans up to $5,500,000 (SBA 504).

You can begin the application process online by downloading and completing a business loan application. Once complete, take the application, a personal financial statement, and your business debt schedule to your local Truliant office.

Summary Table

Provider

Features

Truist Bank


Bank with many branches

Small Business Administration (SBA)

Wide range of loan products

Carolina Small Business Development Fund (CSBDF)


Take on more risk

Self-Help Credit Union


Assist disadvantaged communities

Truliant Federal Credit Union

Well represented

SBA backed loans

Top Online North Carolina Small Business Loan Options

You can secure a business loan without having to leave your office or home by working with an online lender. Here are a few top lenders for you to consider:

1. Fundera

Fundera, a business funding matchmaker, offers several financial products for small businesses, including lines of credit, startup loans, term loans, short-term loans, personal loans for business, equipment financing, invoice financing, merchant cash advances, and Small Business Administration (SBA) loans. Rates, terms, amounts, and other borrower requirements differ based on the financial product selected.

Founded in 2013, Fundera is very discerning about which lenders it partners with. While other intermediaries may partner with as many as 100 direct funders, Fundera currently partners with significantly fewer, as part of a quality-over-quantity strategy.

Fundera lets you fill out one easy application to see the financial products for which you qualify. Working with them is free, and there's no impact on your credit score while shopping around for your options. However, you should note that accepting an offer will likely affect your credit score.

2. BlueVine

Should you wish to apply right away with a direct funder, BlueVine is a respected lender to consider. They offer:

  • Line of Credit: A line of credit is a flexible financing option whereby you can qualify for up to $250,000. Instead of receiving one lump sum payment, your line of credit revolves, meaning that funds become available for you to use again and again for as long as you are meeting your agreed repayments. 

You only pay interest on funds drawn, and rates start as low as 4.8%. To qualify for a BlueVine line of credit, you must have been in business at least six months, have a personal credit score of 600+, and show an annual revenue of at least $100,000.


  • Invoice Factoring: You may qualify for a facility of your unpaid invoices for up to $5 million, subject to a maximum of up to 90% of the value of the invoices. Fees start at 0.25% per week. 

To qualify for invoice factoring, you must be in business at least three months, have a personal credit score of 530+, show an annual revenue of at least $100,000, and be a B2B business.

3. Kabbage

Kabbage concentrates on small business lines of credit of up to $250,000, repayable over six or 12 months, depending on how much you borrow. Fees payable are between 1.5% and 10% of your loan balance.

 

Should you pay off your loan early, there are no penalties, so that you can save on your monthly fees. Monthly payments are automatically withdrawn from your business bank account. There are no fees charged until you take up your line of credit.

Something exclusive to Kabbage is their Kabbage Card. You can either make a regular draw on your line of credit or use the Kabbage Card anywhere Visa is accepted to access your funds. Once you go the card route, a new loan with the same terms and rates will be created on your Kabbage Dashboard.

To qualify, you must have been in business for at least one year and be able to show an annual revenue of $50,000 or more—or prove an average monthly revenue of $4,200 for the last three months.

Additional North Carolina Small Business Financial Resources

If you're a small business owner and are looking for North Carolina small business grants to assist you, here are a few initiatives you might want to learn about.

Paycheck Protection Program

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provides forgivable—or partially forgivable—loans to assist companies in keeping their staff employed during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic/crisis.

USDA Rural Business Loans

The USDA has up to $1 billion available in loan guarantees to help rural businesses with their needs during the pandemic. Also, agricultural producers who are ineligible for USDA Farm Service Agency loans may obtain funding under the USDA Business & Industry (B&I) CARES Act Program

Potential borrowers should inquire with their lenders. Lenders that are interested in participating should contact their USDA Rural Development state office.            

Other Resources for North Carolina Small Businesses

Business Link North Carolina (EDPNC)

Business Link North Carolina is a division of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC). They have an information page with directions to specific assistance regarding COVID-19-related issues.

Small Business Technology and Development Center (SBTDC)

SBTDC guides business owners on how to steer through COVID-19.

Small Business Center Network

The Small Business Center Network has provided a list of resources including webinars,  articles, and blog posts that will provide guidance and assistance to business owners grappling with COVID-19

North Carolina SCORE

SCORE's expert mentors and business professionals give guidance and counsel to those looking to start or expand their businesses. These services are entirely free and volunteer-driven.

SCORE locations in North Carolina

Women's Business Center of North Carolina

The Women's Business Center of North Carolina caters to women entrepreneurs' specific resources, including business advisory services.

How to Prepare for a North Carolina Small Business Loan

Now that you have an idea of how to get a small business loan in North Carolina, you’ll need to attend to the following before applying:

  • Credit Score: Improve it if possible. 
  • Business registration: Ensure that your business is registered and licensed.
  • Business plan: Always have a realistic one at hand.
  • Business revenues: As with all companies, the higher, the better.
  • Business bank account: Make sure that you have one.

The Bottom Line

Applying for a loan is relatively simple once you have found a good bank or online lender, have a business that shows growth potential, and have in place the items covered in the prior section. On this page, our experts have provided an overview of North Carolina small business grants and a variety of loans.  We have also outlined who to approach for assistance, finance, and advice. All you need to do now, is to decide which grant or loan best suits your business needs.