Smoky Mountain News, written by Admin

The Southwestern Commission Council of Governments is pleased to announce the availability of low interest loans for small businesses and entrepreneurs adversely affected by COVID-19. Loans are available to qualifying applicants in Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon, and Swain counties.

The Commission was awarded $2 million in EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance grants to help with the creation and retention of jobs in local business and industry. Loans may have interest rates as low as one percent; credit restrictions apply. Business, nonprofits and governmental units interested in applying can visit

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and so many of our local businesses were severely impacted by the pandemic,” said Sarah Thompson, executive director, Southwestern Commission. “The hope is that these loans will help them rebound from these unprecedented times by providing the necessary resources to stay in business and create a rewarding future.”

“Once again, the Southwestern Commission is leading the way in providing flexible, innovative funding for the businesses that need it the most,” said Zeb Smathers, Mayor of the town of Canton. “I have no doubt that this financial partnership will not only stabilize our local economy, but prepare us for future growth.”

The U.S Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) established the funds to capitalize and administer Revolving Loan Funds (RLFs) to help small businesses and entrepreneurs who’ve been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The funds can be used for machinery and equipment, construction and renovations, land or property acquisition, and working capital. All projects must create economic activity through job creation and retention or community revitalization.

Applications are now being accepted. Visit to apply.

The Southwestern Commission Council of Governments serve as a technical, economic, and planning resource to local towns and counties in Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon, and Swain, the 17 municipalities therein, and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. The Southwestern Commission provides community, economic and workforce development, and services for older Americans. To learn more, visit